DMW Temporarily Suspends Deployment of First-Time OFW Applicants to Kuwait


MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has decided to defer the deployment of first-time overseas Filipino workers who applied for jobs in Kuwait. This decision comes after news of the brutal fate suffered by Jullebee Ranara, an OFW working as a household helper in Kuwait, surfaced last month and alarmed the government to review and look into the measures established to ensure the safety and welfare of OFWs.

DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople reiterated that the decision is only applicable to first-time OFW domestic workers destined to Kuwait, especially household service workers.

Ople said the rule shall be lifted only “after significant reforms have been made and more safeguards are in place for their protection and welfare”.

In line with this, a series of bilateral talks between the Philippine and the Kuwaiti governments are in the works to discuss the matter.

“We have also been informed through diplomatic channels of the willingness of the Kuwait government to engage in bilateral labor talks. We are preparing well in advance for these talks, bringing with us an accumulation of abuse done over the years, hence the need for significant changes,” Ople said.

The brutal death suffered by Ranara at the hands of the 17-year old son of her employer sparked outrage among Filipinos.

Just weeks after this, news of Myla Balbag’s mistreatment from her Kuwaiti employer broke out.

30-year old Balbag was beaten up by her employer after the latter caught her dancing while using TikTok. Scared for her life, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) jumped from the third floor of her employer’s house, leaving her paralyzed.

These urged Philippine officials, including Senator Raffy Tulfo, who is the chairperson of the Committee on Migrant Workers, to seriously analyze the need for a deployment ban to Kuwait.

Ople, however, explained that total deployment ban to the said country would be hard to consider as 195,000 OFWs who are currently in Kuwait would be affected.

She further said that some of these OFWs have worked in Kuwait for several years already and still want to continue working with their old employers.

“Relevant agencies must establish a tighter screening process on foreign employers to avoid abuse and maltreatment of OFWs. These include requiring them to submit a police record and pass a neuro-psychiatric exam to ensure that they are mentally stable,” Tulfo proposed earlier.

“There should also be a pre-engagement orientation for foreign employers before letting them hire OFWs. The orientation should brief them about the importance of respecting Philippine culture and tradition,” he added.

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