OFW recruiters group supports Duterte’s Kuwait deployment ban

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 10) — An association of recruitment agencies on Saturday expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte's ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait.

While it recognized the move would impact their industry, the Philippine Association of Agencies for Kuwait (PHILAAK) said they agree with Duterte’s move to suspend the deployment of FIlipino workers to the Gulf state.

“Although we are understandably saddened because of the impact on our industry sector, we agree with the decision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to suspend indefinitely the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait and to repatriate OFWs there who are in distressed situations,” PHILAAK said.

It said it is coordinating with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and formulating policy recommendations on how the government can help Filipinos not just in Kuwait but worldwide.

“We will present these recommendations to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III soon so we can give him our best advice for the welfare of OFWs,” it said.

PHILAAK made this statement after Duterte on Friday upheld the deployment ban to the West Asian country.

Following the death of another Filipina in the West Asian country, a furious Duterte said the suspension would continue. He also ordered DOLE Sec. Silvestre Bello III to repatriate distressed OFWs in Kuwait within 72 hours.

The Department of Labor and Employment suspended OFW deployment to Kuwait in January as it investigates the deaths of seven OFWs. The Department of Foreign Affairs is looking into the possibility of a total deployment ban.

PHILAAK said it wants recruitment agencies to cooperate to improve practices in the industry.

“We are advocating for unity among all recruitment agencies and their adherence to a common standard of best and responsible practices throughout the industry,” PHILAAK said.

Kuwait is a top destination for Filipino workers. The latest data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration show there are some 86,019 Filipinos in the country as of 2015.

Latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data show cash remittances from Kuwait from January to November 2017 amount to US$735 million (₱37.5 billion).