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Don’t rush your decision

By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

We understand why the government issued a total deployment ban on Filipinos who want to work in Kuwait.

President Duterte asked workers in Kuwait to return as he provided free flights for those who are distressed, given amnesty, and others who simply want to be repatriated.

The President’s order to bring home distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) stemmed from the death of Joanna Daniela Demapilis whose body was found inside a freezer.

The case of Demapilis was among seven recent deaths in Kuwait. Duterte even threatened to withdraw all Filipinos if another worker dies there.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has already coordinated with Kuwaiti police for its official report on Demapilis’s death. She was apparently strangled and her body allegedly showed signs of torture.

Yet, the government should also take into consideration that not every employer is a devil in disguise who tortures and beats up his employees, and not every Filipino among the 251,000 OFWs in Kuwait is eager to return home. Some are actually getting along and doing well with their bosses.

These OFWs include college graduates working as domestic helpers, licensed nurses working as caregivers and flight attendants, dentists working as dental assistants or hygienists, and even doctors working as nurses.

If they concede to the government’s wishes, will these workers be given an alternative job with the same salary being given them in Kuwait? These Filipinos would be truly lucky if they even land a job back home.

Remember, it is the lack of well-paying jobs or any type of employment that drove these Filipinos to seek employment abroad in the first place.

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Bear in mind that even with a total ban on deployment, Filipinos would still find ways and means to leave the country and fly to Kuwait even if they have to go through the so-called “back door”.

In this scenario, we would only be pushing them to seek help from illegal recruiters who have the gall to promise to turn their dreams into reality, collect huge fees and send their victims flying with fake travel papers to non-existent jobs. Most of these poor travelers get held at the airport and are sent back on the next available flight.

And despite the threat of being duped, Filipinos would still take the risk if it meant that this could possibly provide a better future for their loved ones.

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