‘Guidelines’ for deployment of Filipino workers

newsimageKUWAIT: Philippine Charge d’Affaires Noordin Lomondot (right) announces the resumption of the deployment of domestic workers to Kuwait as Rustico dela Fuente (center) and Ma Teresa Olgado look on. — Photo by Ben Garcia Four months after Kuwait-Philippines diplomatic ties almost hit a crisis level, the new guidelines for the deployment of domestic helpers to Kuwait was finally announced yesterday. But there seems to be no substantial changes as to the welfare of tens of thousands of Filipino women in Kuwait. Most of the provisions in the memorandum of agreement which was recently signed were mostly mentioned in the prevailing Kuwait’s domestic labor law. Yesterday, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued the guidelines for the resumption of deployment of Filipino domestic workers. These guidelines were announced at the Philippine Embassy by the Philippine Consul General to Kuwait current Charge d’Affaires Noordin P Lomondot, Philippine Labor Attache to Kuwait Rustico Dela Fuente and Assistant Labor Attache Ma Teresa Olgado. “This morning, 04 June 2018, the Embassy received guidelines on the resumption of the deployment of Domestic Workers to Kuwait from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration or POEA,” Lomondot said. “The guidelines were issued pursuant to the Agreement on Employment of Domestic Workers between the government of the Philippines and that of Kuwait, which was signed in Kuwait on 11 May 2018, and the Administrative Order No 254-A, Series of 2018, signed by Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III lifting the deployment ban for Kuwait-bound domestic workers. In view of this development - and beginning today (04 June 2018), our Labor Office or POLO will start accepting deployment documents of domestic workers (Visa 20 workers) for processing,” the statement said. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, through the office of the Deputy Foreign Minister, expressed appreciation for this new development, which is considered a good step for the two countries to move forward and re-strengthen their friendly bilateral relations,” Lomondot added. Dela Fuente clarified that by July 1-3, there will be joint committee meetings to be held in Kuwait (first round) and the second round will be hosted by the Philippines. “In the joint committee meetings, there will be more issues to be discussed. We hope that some suggestions like the ‘Day Off centers’, the cost of payment for the recruitment agencies, enhancement training programs and lots more will be tackled,” he said. In the new guidelines, however, the Philippine Recruitment Agencies (PRAs) shall comply with the following rules: (1) Only medically fit domestic workers free from infectious diseases as certified by medical clinics accredited by the Department of Health to conduct medical examination for OFWs shall be deployed for overseas employment. (2) Only domestic workers within the allowable age properly trained in accredited training institutions; on household work and received and properly certified satisfactory orientation on Kuwaiti law, customs, traditions, morals, and values shall be deployed. PRAs shall ensure that their workers are cognizant of the terms and conditions of their employment contracts and oblige them to strictly observe Kuwaiti laws, morals, ethics and customs while in Kuwait. FPA (Foreign Recruitment Agencies) shall allow their domestic workers to undergo training in a training center of their own choice except if they pay for their domestic workers’ training costs. Training centers with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) approved curriculum for domestic work shall only charge reasonable training costs and ensure livable and sanitary accommodations for their trainees. The POEA shall issue separate guidelines for the regulation and monitoring of training centers for domestic workers. (3) Only domestic worker with good behavior - and without criminal record as certified by the National Bureau of Investigation shall be deployed. (4) FRA and employers shall neither collect unauthorized fees nor impose charges to the salaries of domestic helpers in connection with the workers recruitment and employment. (5) The recruitment and deployment of newly hired domestic workers shall only be through legal process and procedures. (6) Domestic workers shall have free access to legal assistance and counseling from co