Following the death of several Filipinos in Kuwait and the discovery of the remains of a female house worker in a freezer at an apartment in the Gulf state, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced that his office had created a “rapid response team” to help address the plight of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East.
In an interview with DZRH Friday morning, Bello said the team would be headed by Ciriaco Lagunzad III, DOLE undersecretary for workers welfare protection, human resource and financial services, and TV host and comedian Arnaldo Arevalo “Arnell” Ignacio, who was recently appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as executive deputy director V of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
The DOLE chief said the team would not only visit OFWs in Kuwait but would also check the conditions of other Filipinos staying and working in other areas in the Middle East, such as in Bahrain and in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“(Ang) gagawin nila do’n dadalawin lahat ‘yong mga Middle East countries na kung saan ay marami tayong mga kababayan at tingnan ang kanilang tunay na kalagayan,” said Bello.
Duterte ordered the temporary suspension on the deployment of OFWs in Kuwait, following the death of seven Filipinos in the Gulf state.
Recently, it was reported by Kuwait Times that Kuwaiti operatives had found the body of a woman believed to be a Filipina in the freezer of a flat in the city of Salmiya that was used to be rented by a Lebanese man and his Syrian wife.
The state-run Philippine News Agency reported that Duterte might visit Kuwait following his recent meeting at the Palace with Kuwaiti Ambassador to the Philippines Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh.
The chief executive and the Kuwaiti envoy held a closed door meeting on Wednesday amid issues involving OFWs in the Gulf state.