The Department of Labor and Employment is sending a Technical Working Group to Kuwait to finalize a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Gulf state for the safety, security and welfare of Filipino workers. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the group will be led by Undersecretary Claro Arellano.
Updated February 22, 2018, 7:34 AM
By Leslie Ann G. Aquino
The Department of Labor and Employment is sending a Technical Working Group to Kuwait to finalize a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Gulf state for the safety, security and welfare of Filipino workers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the group will be led by Undersecretary Claro Arellano.
In a press briefing, Arellano revealed the salient features of the proposed MOA which they will push in their negotiations with their Kuwaiti counterparts.
He said one of them will be on allowing OFWs to hold on to their passports while under employment.
“We want them to allow our OFWs in Kuwait to hold their passport. Or at least, if they will not be allowed to hold their passports, they be deposited to our Philippine Labor Attaché in coordination with the Philippines Embassy,” Arellano said.
“Another feature of this MOA is to allow our OFWs to use their cellphones to communicate with their families and the government,” he added.
Arellano said he was hoping that they can finalize the MOA by next week.
“Hopefully, by next week, we can already finalize this memorandum of agreement and, by second week of March, we can already have the signing between the Kuwaiti government and Philippine government,” he said.
The Philippine team headed to Kuwait is expected to leave on February 28.
“Actually we are requesting the Kuwait government na kung puwede po dito sa Manila gawin itong negotiation and we are still waiting for the response of the Kuwait government,” Arellano said.
To recall, the DOLE earlier issued a total depolyment ban of OFWs to Kuwait.
Bello, meantime, ordered the immediate recall of Labor Attaché to Kuwait Alejandro Padaen and Assistant Labor Attaché Lily Pearl Guerrero due to their alleged inaction on the case of Joanna Demafelis, the Filipina found dead in a freezer in an apartment in Kuwait.
“I have already signed the recall order and depending on the evidence gathered by our International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) they may also face administrative proceedings,” he said.
“There was no effort on their part to locate Demafelis when she was reported missing in early 2017,” added Bello.
Welfare Officer Sarah Concepcion was also recalled earlier also due to her alleged negligence in handling the Demafelis case.