Kuwait. Photo: iStock

The Philippine and Kuwaiti governments plan to finalize a bilateral agreement next week designed to protect Filipino workers in Kuwait.

On Thursday, the Department of Labor and Employment announced that representatives from the Kuwaiti government will arrive in Manila next week to finalize the agreement, Rappler reported.

“The Kuwaiti delegates will arrive next week, most probably on March 7. The signing will follow, depending on when we can finalize the agreement,” Labor undersecretary Claro Arellano said.

Arellano said the agreement will cover all domestic workers and skilled workers in Kuwait to ensure protection for all Filipinos working in the small Gulf state.

Under the agreement, employers cannot confiscate a worker’s mobile phone, passport or travel documents. And the transfer of workers should be approved by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the agreement was only one factor relating to the ban on Filipinos working in Kuwait. He said the death of Joanna Demafelis, a maid whose corpse was found in a freezer, must be resolved first.

Demafilis’ former employer, a Lebanese man, and his Syrian wife, have been arrested with the help of Interpol. The man, who has reportedly been transferred to Lebanon, is said to have admitted to putting the Filipino maid into the freezer in their apartment in Kuwait while she was unconscious.

But there has been no confirmation yet on when or where he will face court and punishment for the crime. It is not clear yet if his wife, now reportedly detained in war-torn Syria, was involved in the abuse and whether she will face punishment.

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ReadKuwait, Philippines to ensure maids’ protection in new pact

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