Philippines reopens labour negotiations with Kuwait


Philippine Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III has arrived in Kuwait on February 01 to reopen negotiations with the Kuwaiti government to improve the employment contracts of around 150,000 Filipino domestic helpers there.

The Philippines has declared a total worker deployment ban to Kuwait after another Filipino maid was murdered recently by her employers.

Mr. Bello is accompanied by Labour Undersecretary Claro Arellano, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Bernard Olalia and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Hans Leo Cacdac, according to the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.

Chargé d’Affaires Mohammed Noordin Lomondot said they comprise the Philippine panel to the joint committee meeting on the implementation of the 2018 Philippine-Kuwait agreement on the deployment of domestic workers.

Both sides agreed to convene a joint committee meeting after the Philippine government imposed a total ban on January 15 on the deployment of all new workers, not only domestic helpers, to the Gulf state.

Bello had said the ban was prompted by Kuwait’s cover-up of the sexual abuse and extensive beatings suffered by 26-year-old Jeanelyn Villavende from South Cotabato, who was killed by her employers in late December.

In Kuwait, Bello told the media that both sides will craft a standard employment contract for domestic helpers, which was provided under the bilateral labour agreement signed in May 2018 during a diplomatic crisis spurred by the murder of Filipino domestic helper Joanna Demafelis by her Syrian-Lebanese employers.

The standard contract should allow the domestic helper to keep her passport and mobile phones, specify work hours, allow at least one paid day off a week and prohibit transfer to another employer without consent. (Source: