POEA: Controversial Kuwaiti blogger should be blacklisted

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(Photo: sondos_aq/Instagram)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said a controversial Kuwaiti social media personality should be included in an employer blacklist.

In an interview on radio station DWIZ Saturday, POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said the agreement between the Philippines and Kuwait clearly stated that passports of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) should remain with them and they should also be given a day off.

"Yung mga hindi susunod na mga Kuwaiti employers ay dapat nang iblacklist natin agad yan. Dahil magiging ugat ng problema yan kapag hinyaan natin silang mag-recruit at kumuha ng ating mga domestic workers," said Olalia.

[Translation: Kuwaiti employers who will not follow this should be blacklisted immediately. Because they will become the root of the problem if they are allowed to recruit our domestic workers.]

Olalia added, "Hindi po natin papayagan yung mga ganyang mga Kuwaiti employers na hindi susunod sa ating mga napagkasunduan pag tayo'y nagdeploy."

[Translation: We will not allow those kinds of Kuwaiti employers to not follow the agreement when we deploy.]

A CNN report quoted Sondos al-Qattan, a social media star from Kuwait, saying new laws concerning the rights of Filipino domestic workers were "like a pathetic film."

She added she was against Filipino domestic workers keeping their passports and having one day off a week.

The video has since been deleted. Al-Qattan has also set her Twitter to private, and netizens have reported that comments criticizing her were being deleted.

In a statement Sunday, Susan Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center said, al-Qattan, "publicly uttered and shared through social media, her undesirability as a foreign employer, cannot be denied. She is not worthy to be even in the same room as our valiant and hardworking OFWs."

The same statement quoted al-Qattan from a video she posted on one of her social media accounts saying news laws passed protecting OFWs in Kuwait were "like a pathetic film."

The Philippines and Kuwait signed a labor agreement, saying Filipino workers in the Gulf state are allowed to keep their passports, have a day off a week, and cook their own food.

Meanwhile, the Blas F. Ople Policy Center urged other countries that send domestic workers to Kuwait to also include al-Qattanin their list of undesirable employers.

They stressed that the incident should be considered as an eye-opener among anti-slavery advocates worldwide.

"We have to work even harder to promote awareness about the rights of migrant workers and for domestic work to be treated as a form of employment rather than personal servitude," Ople said.