Permanent deployment ban to Kuwait more harmful to OFWs

Despite its good intentions, imposing a permanent deployment ban in Kuwait can be more detrimental to Filipino migrant workers (OFWs), the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Mangagawa (SENTRO) said in a statement.

“We are grieving over the death of Jeanelyn Villavende, another name to a very long list of OFWs maltreated and killed by their abusive employers, yet we may be issuing a sentence of slow death to the families of other OFWs who have no other way of feeding their families, Josua Mata, SENTRO’s Secretary General said.

The labor organization explained that with the ban, would-be-OFWs will only resort to illegal means to enter the country, or those who are onsite will only stay illegally way beyond their contracts for fear of not able to return, which are more difficult to track and will further endanger their lives.

According to Mata, the government has to come up with sustainable mechanisms in imposing deployment bans, it has to find way to strike the balance between the OFWs’ protection and their right to travel.

In 2011 study, the government’s think tank, Philippine Institute for Development Studies, said that imposing deployment ban is not an end in itself, and that there is need to enhance our sense and assessment on policy citing the absence of concrete policies on OFWs’ economic and development role.

“Deployment ban had been issued time and again, but we all know that it just a knee-jerk reaction whenever the harsh reality of not having enough employment in the country slaps the government in its face,” Mata said.

In 2018 President Duterte made the same decision following reports that some workers in the Gulf state were maltreated by their employers and said he would ask other countries, including China, to accommodate OFWs.

“Eventually, the Philippine government rescinded the ban because it has no way of relocating thousands of employed OFWs in Kuwait to other countries,” Mata said, adding that the permanent solution is not a deployment ban in any other countries but developing the country’s agro-industry to absorb the Filipino labor force, and to give better wages and benefits to Filipino workers and professionals.

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