KUWAIT: Separately, Philippine Labor Attache to Kuwait Ma Teresa Olgado yesterday denied as “fake news” a report in Al-Rai newspaper which claimed the Philippine Embassy has started applying a new system for domestic helpers’ recruitment. The report, quoting an anonymous source, said a sponsor’s family must only have a maximum of four children to recruit one maid. If a family has more than four children, they should recruit an additional maid. If it is discovered later that the sponsor provided incorrect information about the number of family members, the embassy has the right to recall the maid, the report said.

Al-Rai said the new system stipulates that the recruitment contract which the sponsor signs must include a clause which allows embassy representatives to visit the maid and check on her at a time the sponsor agrees on. The embassy reserves the right to summon the sponsor if a complaint is made, the report said. Al-Rai added that the sponsor must provide the maid with a separate room, a cellphone connected to the Internet and one day off a week, while allowing the embassy to check on the maid on the day she starts working.

“This information is not true at all. Please refrain from writing articles attributed to the embassy that are not true and based only on speculations and unfounded information. This can damage and harm our normalizing relations with Kuwait. Please stop spreading fake news,” Olgado asserted. Kuwait and the Philippines signed a labor pact in May, paving the way for lifting a ban on Filipino workers’ deployment that was implemented after a Filipina maid’s body was found in a freezer.

“The technical working committee in charge of drafting the labor agreement held its first meeting in Kuwait a few weeks back. The second round is yet to be scheduled – maybe it will take place in the Philippines early next year, so there are no such provisions yet. The two countries’ parliaments will have to ratify the agreement too,” Olgado told Kuwait Times. The Al-Rai report’s clauses about visiting and reserving the right to visit the housemaid are not acceptable to Kuwait, she said, adding it will agree only if the visit is coordinated and assisted by local authorities.

“The telephone access was added as per a request of our president, but he did not demand an Internet connection too. Of course, if the employer is generous enough to provide it, this is a welcome gesture,” she said. The copy of the contract of both the parties was provided to Kuwait Times by Olgado. “Whatever is written here is only the current agreement that the embassy is implementing. There are no additional provisions because the labor agreement is yet to be ratified,” she concluded.


By Ben Garcia