By Juan Escandor Jr.
NAGA CITY --- Vice President Leni Robredo said she supports the total deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) imposed by President Duterte in Kuwait.
“Ako, sinusuportahan ko iyong polisiya ng ating Pangulo na mag-total deployment (ban) muna sa Kuwait. Marami nang nakatala na mga problema,” Robredo told the local media here.
(I am supporting the policy of our President to have total deployment ban for the meantime in Kuwait. There are several problems listed.)
She said one of the problems identified is that there is not one agency in Kuwait focused on the problems of the OFWs.
“Iyong ganitong problema, nasa parang DILG nila, iyong Ministry of Interior, na maraming ibang inaasikaso na mga obligasyon at responsibilidad,” Robredo said.
(The problem like this, seems to be with their DILG, their Ministry of Interior, which takes care of many obligations and responsibilities.)
She said the situation is very alarming because there are so many Filipinos working in Kuwait.
Robredo said another problem is that there are so many recruitment agencies which were suspended or closed resulting to the absence of way to monitor the situation of the OFWs.
“Ito iyong kaso ni Joanna (Demapiles). Nagsara iyong recruitment agency na tinatrabahuhan niya, na nagpadala sa kaniya,” she said.
(This is the case of Joanna (Demapiles). The recruitment agency that she worked for, that sent her, closed.)
Robredo said the parents and relatives of Demapiles, because the recruitment agency closed down, were left to go from office-to-office but nobody knew what happened to her.
“Iyong sa akin lang, kailangan siguro maging polisiya ng gobyerno na kung magsususpend siya o magsasara ng recruitment agency, siguraduhin iyong inaalagaan nitong mga workers na dine-deploy, may sasalo,” she said.
(As for me, it is necessary as policy of the government that if it suspends or closes down a recruitment agency, it must be ensured that the workers deployed must be taken care of and another agency to take their (suspended or closed down agency) place.)
Robredo said there must be a bilateral agreement between the Philippines and Kuwait where several terms can be asked and put into it.
“Isa na doon iyong puwede bang magkaroon ng regular monitoring na pinipresenta ng employer iyong employee sa konsulato o sa embassy, o binibigyan ng visitation rights iyong konsulado o embassy para makita on regular basis kung kumusta ang kalagayan ng workers,” she said.
(One of these terms that can be considered is the regular monitoring wherein the employer presents the employee to the consulate or embassy, or the consulate or embassy is given visitation rights in order to check on regular basis the situation of the workers.)
Robredo said that these details can only be taken up in a bilateral agreement.
She interprets President Duterte’s deployment ban to cover new deployment but not the previous ones.
“Hindi naman sinasabi na iyong mga nandoon papauwiin. Sinasabi lang natin, huwag munang magpadala ng bago hanggang hindi natin naaasikaso iyong usapan,” Robredo said.
(It is not directed that those already there are to be sent home. We are saying, let us not send new ones for the meantime until we have taken care of the issues.)
She said a lot of OFWs in Kuwait have good experience and they must not be included in the repatriation.