MANILA – A ban on Filipinos working in Kuwait was officially lifted on Thursday by the Philippines Department of Labour, state media reported.
The move follows an order issued by the country’s president Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday.
“Upon recommendation of Special Envoy to Kuwait Abdullah Mama-o, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte tonight instructed (Labor) Secretary to totally lift the ban on deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a message to Palace reporters on Wednesday, according to the official Philippine News Agency.
Filipino labor secretary Silvestre Bello III signed the department order on Thursday, lifting the ban on both skilled and domestic service Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Gulf State.
“They can leave as early as Friday if their papers are ready,” Bello said in an interview at a hotel in Manila, PNA reported.
Duterte had imposed the ban in February after the body of a domestic worker, Joanna Demafelis, was found in the freezer of her Kuwaiti employees.
The murder led to a diplomatic spat between the two nations, leading to strained relations in the following months, during which both countries expelled each other’s ambassadors.
On April 1, a criminal court in Kuwait sentenced a Lebanese man and his Syrian wife to death for the death of Demafelis.
On May 11, the governments of both countries signed a memorandum to normalize ties.
The agreement envisages the creation of a joint committee that will propose initiatives and ensure that Filipinos in Kuwait are not exploited and receive decent accommodation, clothing and food, among other things.
Around 260,000 Filipinos work in the Kuwait, 65 percent of them as household workers, according to the official Filipino figures.