Tulfo renews calls for OFW ban  in Kuwait after another abuse

2:37 pm on 7 February 2023, Tuesday

By Caryl Gonzales

The call for the need to impose a deployment ban on Filipino workers in Kuwait was raised again by Senator Raffy Tulfo after various media outlets reported another incident of abuse.
It was reported that Myla Balbag, a Filipina domestic helper, was paralyzed after jumping from a window of her abusive employer’s house to escape.

Tulfo, the chairperson of the Committee on Migrant Workers, said he had closely coordinated with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to check the conditions and ensure the safety of the Filipina worker after the incident.

He also said he learned from the report of OWWA that Balbag was brought to the Emergency Department of Al Jaber Hospital on January 21 after falling from the house's third floor in Hateen.

The Filipina domestic helper reportedly narrated that her female employer got furious after she caught her using TikTok in her room. She said the employer confiscated her phone and headset and physically abused her later.

Balbag packed her belongings out of fear and tried to escape through the window.

The incident came around two weeks after the murder of another domestic helper Jullebee Ranara, who was found dead in the middle of the Al-Sami desert, where her remains appeared to be burned and abandoned.

With the occurring cases of incidents, Tulfo stressed that his proposed deployment ban in Kuwait could be used as “leverage when the Philippine government sits down with Kuwait for bilateral talks.”

He also suggested that the Kuwait government adhere to several terms and conditions set by the Philippines on the possible bilateral talks, including issuing a public apology to the Filipinos.

Furthermore, the lawmaker explained that Filipinos are generally happy people who have the right to use TikTok for fun or means to reconnect with their family after a long day’s work.

He added he saw nothing wrong with letting domestic helpers use a social media application after working hours, noting it does not disrespect Kuwaiti traditions.

Tulfo called on the relevant agencies to establish a “tighter screening process” for foreign employers to avoid OFW abuse and maltreatment, create associations for OFWs and employers to address recurring issues faced by both parties, and organize Filipino festivals that showcase Filipino talents.

Recently, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has not considered suspending the deployment ban to Kuwait. Instead, they looked at additional safeguards and reforms to ensure workers bound for Kuwait are better protected.


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