By Leslie Ann Aquino
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello on Thursday said he already signed the Department Order officially lifting the total deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait.
“I just signed the order lifting the ban on the deployment of skilled workers and professionals, as well as in the deployment of household service workers,” he said in an interview in a hotel in Manila.
The order, Bello said is “effective immediately”.
“They can leave as early as tomorrow (Friday) if their papers are already ready,” he said.
The labor chief said his recommendation really was for partial lifting, but President Duterte was impressed by the goodwill gesture of the Kuwaiti government which prompted him to totally lift the ban.
Bello cited the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Kuwait and the Philippines on the protection of overseas Filipino workers, justice given to Joana Demafelis as some of them.
“The Kuwaiti government is also sincere in its effort to provide protection to our OFWs. Plus the fact when we were there they were very cordial, they accepted all the requests we made including the repatriation of about 600 of our OFWs in our shelters. They did not only agree to repatriate them, they also offered to defray the expenses for transportation,” he said.
As to illegal recruiters planning to victimize OFWs, Bello said a task force has already formed for this.
“We have a task force for that. We won’t identify the group so the illegal recruiters will not know them,” he said.
According to the labor chief, they will also be stricter in the deployment.
“We will be strict in the training of our OFWs to make sure they are properly trained before they are deployed. We will require all agencies to have their own training center which should be accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority,” said Bello.
President Duterte ordered the total lifting of the ban Wednesday.