Malacañang said on Monday it supported the call to review the memorandum of understanding between the Philippines and Kuwait following the recent death of an overseas Filipino worker in the Gulf State.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said there was a need to review the agreement, aimed at protecting the welfare of migrant workers, with the Kuwaiti government.
“I think we should because according to [Labor] Secretary Bello [III] there has been a breach in the agreement signed by the two countries,” Panelo told Palace reporters.
Panelo made the remark after the Migrante-Philippines demanded a review of the MOU. According to the labor group, the brutal death of Constancia Lago Dayag at the hands of her employer in Kuwait last week prompted the appeal.
“The incident just proves that the [MoU] between Kuwait and the Philippines is useless [in protecting overseas Filipino workers],” Migrante-Philippines said in a statement. “It only regularized the cheap export of our female workers to Kuwait.”
Last year, the Philippine government imposed a ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait after several death reports and abuse cases reached Manila. Triggered by the death of Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found in a freezer of her employer’s home, President Rodrigo Duterte then ordered the deployment restriction.
However, the said ban was lifted after the two countries signed a deal to better protect Filipino migrant workers in the Arab country.
The said MoU, which was divided into six articles, discusses the responsibilities of each country in ensuring that OFWs in Kuwait are provided with basic human and labor rights.
The agreement requires Kuwaiti employers to allow OFWs to keep their passports, create bank accounts of their own, and have cellular phones.
The Labor chief, however, said there might have been a “breach” in Dayag’s contract, vowing that the Labor Department will probe the possible violation of the Kuwaiti government on the MOU provisions following the death of the 47-year-old Filipina migrant worker.
“I am taking the Kuwaiti government to task for the gruesome death of yet another Filipino worker in the hands of her employer in Kuwait,” Bello previously said.
“Aside from apparent violation of the agreement on the protection of OFWs between our government and Kuwait, there appears to have been a breach of the employment contract by the foreign employer,” he added.
Meanwhile, Panelo said the Palace will await the results of the investigation on the death. He also hinted that Duterte might have already caught wind of Dayag’s death.
“We will wait for the report of Secretary Bello regarding this incident,” Panelo bared.
“The Secretary of Labor has already issued an official statement. He’s putting the government of Kuwait to [the] task. He is investigating it, and DFA is waiting for an autopsy report,” he added.
Last Tuesday, Dayag was taken to the Al-Sabah hospital in Kuwait after her death amid allegations she had been sexually abused and fatally beaten by her 60-year-old Kuwaiti employer.