On January 15, the Department of Labor and Employment announced a deployment ban to Kuwait after an autopsy ordered by the National Bureau of Investigation revealed what happened to Filipina domestic worker Jeanelyn Villavende following her death.
According to Rappler, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration approved a resolution “affecting a deployment ban that would cover all newly-hired workers who were supposed to go to Kuwait for work.”
This comes after the Philippine government’s condemnation of the death of two other Filipina domestic workers, Joanne Demafelis and Constancia Lago Dayag. Demafelis’ body was recovered in a freezer in her employer’s abandoned apartment in Kuwait City. She had been dead for two years, investigators said. Dayag, on the other hand, was declared dead in a hospital in Kuwait “after apparently being beaten and sexually abused by her employer,” reports Rappler.
The total deployment ban that had been announced would cover “all newly-hired workers,” from domestic workers, skilled workers, and professionals. Before the January 15 announcement, there had been a partial ban in place, covering household service workers with overseas employment certificates issued after 5 p.m. on January 3.
After the murder of Demafelis, an agreement between the Philippines and Kuwait had come about, seeking to uphold the protection of the rights and welfare of Filipino workers in Kuwait. Villavende’s murder, Philippine authorities said, is a “clear violation” of this agreement.
According to CNN Philippines, this ban would “prohibit the government from issuing overseas employment certificates (OEC) to Filipino workers,” said Senate Labor Committee Chair Joel Villanueva.
“Meaning to say, minsan kahit may contract na kayo sa recruitment agency at recruitment agency sa ibang bansa, wala ‘yung OEC, hindi kayo makakatuloy,” he added.
Those who have already paid for the documents, however, may request for a refund from POEA.
The ban may be lifted, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, “if Kuwaiti courts take appropriate action on the Filipina’s case.”
Why is there a ban? The POEA ordered this ban after the murder cases of yet another Filipina domestic worker in Kuwait.
Who is affected by the ban? All newly-hired workers, including domestic workers, skilled workers, and professionals. The ban does not include returning “Filipino workers and seafarers transiting through or boarding in Kuwait to join their principals.”
What will happen if you’ve already paid for your OEC? You can request for a refund through POEA.