Press Release
January 31, 2017

Villanueva calls for deployment moratorium of domestic workers to Kuwait after another death of Pinay

Senator Joel Villanueva, Chairman of Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development, has urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to issue a temporary suspension of the deployment of household service workers (HSWs) to Kuwait following reports of abuses against OFWs, the recent one caused the death of a Pinay household worker.

The said worker named Amy Capulong Santiago was beaten to death by her Kuwaiti employers. She was reported dead on arrival on the same day another OFW, Jakatia Pawa, was executed by hanging on January 25, 2017.

"I support the call of OFW advocacy groups urging the government to suspend deployment of household workers in Kuwait. We have been receiving numerous cases of abuse against our OFWs, and I deem it urgent for the government to temporarily stop sending domestic workers in countries where they are not being treated properly," Villanueva said.

In 2016, OFWs made an appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte asking for assistance to help them return in the Philippines which resulted in the repatriation of some OFWs from Kuwait who suffered maltreatment.

Villanueva has also urged DOLE and OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) to review their policies in sending migrant workers abroad and look at ways on how to improve their assistance and protection to affected OFWs.

The Senator stated that DOLE and OWWA should track the incidence of abuse and automatically issue a moratorium in sending workers to countries with high incidence of abuse.

"Our primary concern should be the lives and safety of our workers. It should be automatic for the government to suspend the sending of workers in countries that do not treat our workers properly. We should not wait for someone to die for us to act on this," Villanueva stressed.

In Kuwait alone, it was reported that there were at least 500 distressed OFWs who spent their New Year at government offices in Kuwait due to reported abuses against them by their employers according to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, OWWA, and Kuwait Migrant Workers Shelter.

"Our OFWs have already been sacrificing so much to provide for their families in the Philippines. Let us not further aggravate their suffering by turning a blind eye on the abuses being committed against them by their employers. I deem it imperative to act on these incidents," Villanueva added.

Last week, DOLE chief Silvestre Bello III said they are already studying to impose a deployment moratorium following reports of abuses against HSWs.

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