On February 2 and 3, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is expected to go to Kuwait to have talked over the standard employment contract for Filipino workers there despite the total deployment ban which was imposed following the passing of Jeanelyn Villavende, the OFW who allegedly passed away in the hands of her employer.

Bello said during the hearing at the Senate Labor Committee that a series of meetings with the ambassador of Kuwait Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh was already set. They are planning to speed up the resolution of the case as well as to give priority to it.

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“I made it a condition for the lifting of the deployment ban, first, is justice to Jeanelyn and, second, that they would finally agree to a standard employment contract which contains the provisions the President (Rodrigo Duterte) wants to include,” says Bello.

Bello was also invited to meet with his counterpart in Kuwait.

“The result of the meeting with the Ambassador was an invitation for me to proceed to Kuwait and meet my counterpart, the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and possibly the Prime Minister,” he said.

Bello declined to meet the Prime Minister of Kuwait saying that he is not of high rankings, he will instead be seeing the ministers, technical working group which includes the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration administrator Bernard Olalia as well as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac.

“So I agreed to the invitation provided that I can bring my technical working group, to be headed by one undersecretary and two of my very competent administrators, Olalia and Cacdac, so that we can finally come up with standard employment contract,” Bello said.

“‘Yun ang pag-uusapan sa February 2 and 3.”

The provisions that President Duterte wanted to include in the standard employment contract were specific sleeping and working hours, and day off with pay. Passport and cellphones of Filipino workers must also be kept in their possession and must not be confiscated by their employers.

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Transferring of Filipino workers without the written consent and approval of Philippine Labor Attache must also be prohibited.

Bello is confident that this standard contract will be signed before the planned trip of President Duterte to Kuwait this coming March.

The total deployment ban of Filipino workers including domestic helpers, skilled and semi-skilled workers was imposed following the passing of Filipina Jeanelyn Villavende. The Philippine government demanded justice instead of blood money which was previously offered to the family of Villavende.

The perpetrators of Villavende, the male employer was said to be a high ranking government official, is currently detained in Kuwait.

The passing of Villavende angered Filipinos after Kuwait’s effort to whitewash her demise. It was found out in her autopsy report that the OFW suffered for several months in the hands of her bad-treating employers. An autopsy was conducted upon the arrival of his remains in the Philippines and the reason behind her passing was finally revealed.

It was also found out that her vital organs went missing and cloth pieces were replaced.

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