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Tulfo reiterates need for deployment ban following abuse of another OFW in Kuwait, set PH conditions for bilateral talks

PHILIPPINES, February 6 - Press Release
February 6, 2023

Tulfo reiterates need for deployment ban following abuse of another OFW in Kuwait, set PH conditions for bilateral talks

Senator Idol Raffy Tulfo reiterated the need to impose a deployment ban of Filipino workers in Kuwait following reports from ABS-CBN and other media outlets published over the weekend about a Pinay domestic helper who has been paralyzed after escaping her abusive employer there.

Tulfo, Chairperson of the Committee on Migrant Workers, said he has kept close coordination with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to check on the condition and ensure the safety of OFW Myla Balbag after the said incident.

He learned from the report of OWWA that Balbag was brought to the Emergency Department of Al Jaber Hospital on January 21 after falling from the third floor of her employer's house in Hateen while trying to escape.

Balbag reportedly narrated that on said date, her female employer got furious after catching her using the social media application TikTok in her room. Said employer seized her phone and headset and later hurt her physically.

Out of fear, Balbag said she packed her belongings and tried to escape through the window on the third floor of her employer's house, which led to her fall.

Reports about the incident involving Balbag came out roughly two weeks after the murder of domestic helper Jullebee Ranara, who was found at a desert in Salmi, Al-Jahra Governorate. Before the news about the abuse of Balbag broke, Tulfo was already coordinating with OWWA to monitor her condition and he continues to keep a close eye on her case.

The Senator from Isabela and Davao maintained that his proposed deployment ban to Kuwait can be used as a leverage when the Philippine government sits down with Kuwait for bilateral talks.

On possible bilateral talks, Tulfo suggested that the Kuwait government should adhere to several terms and conditions set by the Philippines, including an issuance of a public apology to the Filipinos.

Tulfo likewise stressed the need to impose a pre-engagement orientation for foreign employers before letting them hire OFWs. The orientation, he said, should brief them about the importance of respecting Philippine culture and tradition.

Sen. Idol explained that Filipinos are generally happy people who have the right to use TikTok for fun or as means to reconnect with their loved ones after a long day's work, maintaining that he sees nothing wrong with letting domestic helpers like Balbag to use TikTok after working hours as long as they do not disrespect Kuwaiti traditions.

Thirdly, Tulfo underscored the need for relevant agencies to 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.

Furthermore, Tulfo proposed the creation of associations not only of OFWS, but also of their employers that should meet on regular basis to address recurring issues faced by both parties and prevent further abuses from happening. This is beneficial for both parties, he said.

Lastly, Tulfo said a regular Filipino festival should be organized in Kuwait that showcases Filipino talents in music and the arts, among others, and highlights the country's rich culture and tradition which could gain the respect of the people of Kuwait.

As part of his effort to improve the plight of OFWs in Kuwait, Tulfo recently filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 448 seeking to revisit, re-examine and review the existing bilateral agreement and standard employment contract governing Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait.

Tulfo, giniit muli ang deployment ban OFW matapos maparalisa ang tumakas na OFW sa Kuwait;

Inulit ni Tulfo ang kanyang panawagan para sa deployment ban ng mga Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) sa Kuwait matapos maparalisado ang isang Pinay domestic helper na nahulog sa ikatlong palapag ng bahay ng kanyang among Kuwaiti.

Ani Tulfo, na Chairperson ng Committee on Migrant Workers, nakikipag-coordinate siya sa Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) para manghingi ng update at masigurong ligtas na ang OFW na si Myla Balbag matapos ang nasabing insidente.

Nalaman niya sa ulat ng OWWA na dinala si Balbag sa Emergency Department ng Al Jaber Hospital noong Enero 21 matapos mahulog mula sa ikatlong palapag ng bahay ng kanyang amo sa Hateen habang sinusubukang tumakas.

Isinalaysay umano ni Balbag na sa nasabing petsa, nagalit ang kanyang babaeng amo matapos siyang mahuli na gumagamit ng TikTok sa kanyang kwarto. Maya-maya ay kinuha ng employer ang kanyang phone at headset. Sinaktan din diumano siya ng kanyang amo.

Dahil sa takot, sinabi ni Balbag na inimpake niya ang kanyang mga gamit at sinubukang tumakas sa bintana sa ikatlong palapag ng bahay ng kanyang amo, na naging dahilan ng kanyang pagkahulog.

Ang mga ulat tungkol sa insidente na kinasasangkutan ni Balbag ay lumabas halos dalawang linggo matapos ang pagpatay sa domestic helper na si Jullebee Ranara, na natagpuan sa isang disyerto sa Salmi, Al-Jahra Governorate.

Bago pa man pumutok ang balita tungkol sa pang-aabuso kay Balbag, nakikipag-ugnayan na si Tulfo sa OWWA para kumustahin at bantayan ang kalagayan nito.

Nanindigan ang Senador mula sa Isabela at Davao na ang kanyang iminungkahing deployment ban sa Kuwait ay maaaring gamitin bilang leverage kapag ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas nakipag-bilateral talks na sa Kuwait government.

Sa posibleng bilateral talks, iminungkahi ni Tulfo na dapat sumunod ang gobyerno ng Kuwait sa kondisyon na sasabihin ng Pilipinas, kabilang na ang pag-isyu ng public apology sa mga Filipino.

Binigyang-diin din ni Tulfo ang kahalagahan ng pagkakaroon ng pre-engagement orientation para sa mga dayuhang employer bago sila payagang mag-employ ng mga OFWs. Dapat diumanong turuan ang foreign employers sa kahalagahan ng paggalang sa kultura at tradisyon ng Pilipinas.

Ani Idol, masiyahing mga tao ang mga Pilipino at dapat ay hindi sila pigilang gawin ang nagpapasaya sa kanila, tulad ng pag-gamit ng TikTok, lalo pa't kung ito ay after working hours na. Pangatlo, sinabi ni Tulfo na kailangang i-require ang mga employers na magpasa ng police record at pumasa sa neuro psychiatric exam bago sila payagang mag-hire ng Filipino workers.

Iminungkahi din ni Tulfo ang paglikha ng mga asosasyon hindi lamang ng mga OFWS, kundi maging ng kanilang mga employers upang regular na mapagusapan ng magkabilang panig ang mga problema at solusyon dito.

Panghuli, sinabi ni Tulfo na dapat ay magkaroon ng Filipino festival sa Kuwait na nagpapakita ng mga talento ng mga Pilipino sa musika at sining at nagtatampok sa mayamang kultura at tradisyon ng bansa.