Gov't issues exemptions to ban on Kuwait-bound workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 14) - Workers on vacation in the country, rehired workers, and passing seafarers are exempted from the deployment ban to Kuwait, the government said on Wednesday.

The Department of Labor and Employment, through Administrative Order No. 54-A, issued exemptions to President Rodrigo Duterte's directive to stop sending workers to Kuwait.

The deployment ban exempts:

1. Workers vacationing in the country and will be returning to the same employer to finish their contracts

2. Workers who are returning to Kuwait on a new contract with the same employer

3. Seafarers who will be boarding in Kuwait

These workers have to get clearance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration before they can go back to Kuwait.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) is keeping a close watch on airports and seaports to enforce the ban.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente on Tuesday said he has directed the bureau's port operations division chief Marc Red Mariñas to immediately implement the ban through stricter immigration checks and preventing workers bound for Kuwait from leaving.

"We shall implement this deployment ban to the letter and immigration personnel who connive with the escort syndicates will be dealt with severely," he said in a statement.

Morente said rigid inspection will stop attempts by illegal recruiters to dodge the ban and facilitate the exit of Kuwait-bound workers through the "notorious escort racket" at the airport.

The government on Monday signed the administrative order to completely ban the deployment of all workers to Kuwait, following the series of deaths of Filipino housemaids including Joanna Demafelis, who was found dead in a freezer.