Dubai: The Philippines is seeking justice for the death of another overseas worker in Kuwait, and Filipinos who are looking to work in the Gulf state might again face another deployment ban.
Authorities and migrant worker advocates from the Philippines condemned the sudden demise of a 47-year-old housemaid last week, citing that it’s a violation of an earlier agreement on the protection of Filipino workers in Kuwait.
Department of Labour and Employment (Dole) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) also said that the Asian country may reimpose a ban on expatriate workers, following the incident.
The overseas Filipino worker (OFW) died upon arriving at a local hospital last week. Medical staff said her body “bore various contusions and hematoma, as well as signs of sexual assault.”
There is currently no ban on Filipino workers in Kuwait. Last year, the Philippine government stopped its citizens from flying to the Gulf state for work due to reports of alleged abuses, and following the discovery of a Filipina’s body stuffed in a freezer inside an apartment.
The ban was lifted after both countries signed an agreement to regulate the recruitment or employment of household workers.
On May 14, reports emerged of the tragic death of another Filipina domestic worker, Constancia Lago Dayag, prompting the country’s labour chief and advocates of migrant workers to plead for justice.
“The horrible fate of Ms. Dayag is deeply saddening and utterly condemnable. I am taking the Kuwait Government to task for the gruesome death of yet another Filipino worker in the hands of her employer,” labour secretary Silvestre Bello said in a statement on Thursday.
Dayag landed in Kuwait after securing an employment contract with a Kuwaiti employer in January 2016. She was declared dead on arrival at Al Sabah Hospital in Kuwait last May 14.
Bello said the latest death is an “apparent violation” of the agreement on the protection of OFWs. “There appears to have been a breach of the employment contract by the foreign employer,” he said.
“We shall do everything to find justice for her death.”
Migrante International, an advocacy group for Filipinos working overseas, echoed Bello’s statement, citing that Dayag’s death should be brought to justice. It called for a review of the memorandum of understanding between Kuwait and the Philippines and urged authorities to ensure that Filipino workers in the Gulf state are protected.
“After the killing of our fellow compatriots, Joana Demafelis, Josie Lloren and other domestic workers in Kuwait in the past year, Dayag’s death is proof that nothing has changed in the working conditions of OFWs,” Migrante said in a statement in Tagalog.
When asked if the government would reinstate the deployment ban following the incident, Bello said, “it’s an option.” Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) administrator Bernard Olalia also confirmed in a separate text message that the agency’s governing board (GB) may take up the deployment ban during its next regular meeting.
The board is responsible for the issuance of government policies related to the deployment of workers abroad.