Kuwait-Philippines joint monitoring to ensure OFWs’ welfare are met, labor expert says

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a deployment ban in February following numerous cases of abuse and murder of Filipino workers. (AFP)
Updated 05 June 2018

Kuwait-Philippines joint monitoring to ensure OFWs’ welfare are met, labor expert says

DUBAI: The creation of a joint committee that would monitor the welfare Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, particularly the household service workers, should ensure a faster response to cases of abuse, a labor and migration expert said Wednesday.
“The joint committee would help a lot in making sure that the welfare of [Filipino] workers are taken care of since they will regularly monitor the situation,” Emmanuel S. Geslani told Arab News in a telephone interview.
“The committee would also ensure that there would be an immediate response to abuse cases that would be lodged with the Philippine embassy [in Kuwait],” Geslani added.
The labor attaché in Kuwait will head the Philippine representation, while Kuwaiti immigration and foreign affairs officials will form the counterpart group for the joint committee, Labor secretary Silvestre Bello III told a legislative hearing on Wednesday.
The joint committee will be convened after Ramadan to finalize procedures for the enforcement of the Memorandum of Understanding, signed on May 11, which strengthened the diplomatic and labor relations between the Philippines and Kuwait after an earlier row over the supposed ‘rescue’ of domestic workers in the Gulf country.
Bello also announced that the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait would resume next week after consulting President Rodrigo Duterte, who imposed a ban in February following numerous cases of abuse and murder of Filipino workers including that of housemaid Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found stuffed in a freezer more than a year after she reported missing.
“They [non-skilled workers] can start traveling to Kuwait next week while skilled workers who are not covered by the MoU can fly out as early as tomorrow,” Bello said, as the guidelines on household service workers’ recruitment and deployment would be released next week.
Around 262,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, nearly 60 percent of them working in homes, latest deployment figures show.
“The guidelines should ensure that employers [of house helpers in Kuwait] would comply with the MoU and have an immediate response, because definitely some will not follow,” Geslani said, since Kuwaiti police and immigration authorities now have an established partnership with Philippine government representatives.


Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

Updated 29 October 2020

Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

  • A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”

BEIRUT: Lebanese negotiators laid out their claim to maritime territory on Wednesday as they began a second round of talks with Israel over their disputed sea border.
The contested zone in the Mediterranean is an estimated 860 square kilometers known as Block 9, which is rich in oil and gas. Future negotiations will also tackle the countries’ land border.
Wednesday’s meeting took place at the headquarters of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) amid tight security. An assistant of the UN special coordinator for Lebanon chaired the session, and the US Ambassador to Algeria, John Desrocher, was the mediator.
A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”
The Lebanese delegation produced maps and documents to support their claim to the disputed waters.
In indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel in 2012, US diplomat Frederick Hoff proposed “a middle line for the maritime borders, whereby Lebanon would get 58 percent of the disputed area and Israel would be given the remaining 42 percent, which translates to 500 square kilometers for Lebanon and 300 square kilometers for Israel.”
On the eve of Wednesday’s meeting, Lebanese and Israeli officials met to discuss a framework to resolve the conflict through the implementation of UN Resolution 1701.
UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col praised the “constructive role that both parties played in calming tensions along the Blue Line” and stressed the necessity of “taking proactive measures and making a change in the prevailing dynamics regarding tension and escalation.”