“More harm than good” – these were the words of the labor group when it comes to the issue of total deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait.
Following the passing of Jeanelyn Villavende, a total deployment ban was imposed by the Philippine government. However, the Sentro ng mgaNagkakaisa at ProgresibongMangagawa (SENTRO) thinks that the permanent deployment ban can only do more harm than good to Filipino migrant workers.
According to the statement of SENTRO’s Secretary-General Joshua Mata, the government’s decision to impose a deployment ban will only result to greater difficulties especially to the families of OFWs.
“With the ban, would-be-OFWs will only resort to illegal means to enter the country, or those who are onsite will only stay illegally way beyond their contracts for fear of not able to return, which are more difficult to track and will further endanger their lives,” Mata said.
He also added that finding ways to balance protection and the right to travel among OFWs instead of deployment bans are more needed.
“Deployment ban had been issued time and again, but we all know that it is just a knee-jerk reaction whenever the harsh reality of not having enough employment in the country slaps the government in its face,” he added citing the time when President Duterte first imposed a deployment ban way back 2018 due to the bad treatment received by Filipino domestic helpers in Kuwait.
Eventually, it is said that the ban was lifted because of the lack of employment for the thousands of OFWs from Kuwait who will be returning home in case the ban persists.
According to Mata, the only way to stop such incidents from reoccurring is not a deployment ban but to enhance Philippines ’ agro-industry so as to absorb the Filipino workers and prevent them from leaving the country. Furthermore, better wages and benefits to Filipino workers will be an added solution.