DMW not considering Kuwait deployment ban after OFW slay, eyes ‘additional safeguards’

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — The Philippine government is not yet considering a suspension on the deployment of overseas workers to Kuwait following the death of another Filipino in the Gulf state, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said Tuesday.

DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople, who gave updates on the case of slain domestic helper Jullebee Ranara, said the agency is looking into forming “additional safeguards” to ensure the safety of OFWs in Kuwait.

“Ang nakikita namin on the ground, mabilis umaksyon ang Kuwaiti government [What we are seeing on the ground is that the Kuwaiti government acts fast],” Ople told Senate reporters.

“So no, we’re not contemplating suspension of deployment to Kuwait, but yes, we are looking at additional safeguards and reforms to make sure workers bound for Kuwait are better protected,” she added.

The DMW earlier confirmed the death of the 35-year-old Ranara, whose burnt body was found in the desert over the weekend.

The suspect, reported to be the 17-year-old son of Ranara's employer, is already under police custody, the department added. 

Ople vowed that the government will provide assistance to Ranara’s family, including insurance and scholarships for her children.

Senator wants ban

A senator, however, is pushing for another ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait, saying the nation is not a safe place for OFWs.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who chairs the chamber’s committee on labor, said in a privilege speech that the Philippines should not have lifted its previous bans.

“[I]t is also recorded, marami na ho talagang pang-aabuso na ginagawa itong mga amo nitong ating mga OFW [There have been many cases of abuse against our OFWs]. That’s why, I want to recommend to ban our OFWs from working in the state,” Estrada said.

The Philippine government last imposed a deployment ban to Kuwait in January 2020, following the death of Jeanelyn Villavende, an OFW who was also allegedly killed by her Kuwaiti employer. The ban was lifted on the same year her employers were charged with the crime.

Meanwhile, Estrada questioned why Ranara's local recruitment agency was able to continue operations despite having pending cases before the adjudication board of the DMW.

He and other senators also called for a mechanism that would screen employers prior to the deployment of workers.

CNN Philippines’ Eimor Santos and Alyssa Rola contributed to this report.