Cutting ties with Kuwait depends on DOLE's recommendation, Palace says
President Rodrigo Duterte is "outraged" with the recent death of a Filipina worker in Kuwait but severing ties with the Middle Eastern country would depend on the recommendation of the Department of Labor and Employment, a Palace official said on Thursday.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the brutal death of Jeanelyn Villavende, a household service worker, was a violation of the agreement between the two countries.
"The President is outraged by that. It is a violation of the agreement between these two countries and the incident is under investigation," he said.
Asked if the government is considering to cut ties with Kuwait, he said, "It depends on the recommendation of (Labor) Secretary (Silvestre) Bello (II)."
But he added that severing diplomatic relations with Kuwait could be "too serious, (but) let's see how it develops."
Bello said earlier in the day the government would impose a partial ban on the deployment of household service workers to Kuwait.
The ban would cover only first-time workers who would serve as household service workers to Kuwait, and excludes skilled and vacationing workers.
Bello also warned that the partial ban could "ripen" into a total deployment ban if justice for Villavende is not met.
Before she was reportedly beaten to death by her employer, Villavende was complaining about maltreatment and underpayment of salary as early as September. She allegedly sought for repatriation to her recruitment agency, but it did not do anything.
In 2018, a diplomatic crisis also occurred between the two countries following the deaths of some overseas Filipino workers, particularly of Joanna Demafeles, whose body was found inside a freezer.
The problem was only resolved after the two countries came out with a new agreement related to the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait. Celerina Monte/DMS