Kuwait-banned OFWs get no plan from Marcos govt

Press Statement
27 May 2023

We at Migrante-International condemn the Bongbong Marcos government for not providing a concrete plan for prospective Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were banned by Kuwait in the previous weeks. 

This government does not offer a concrete plan on the issue because it has become so overdependent on OFW remittances. It sees no other solution to the problems brought about by labor export except continuing labor export. It has no concrete plan for OFWs because it has no concrete employment plan for Filipinos that is really under its control.

This overdependence on OFW remittances and lack of a concrete plan for OFWs is the reason behind President Bongbong Marcos’ statement last Friday that calls for imposing a ban on sending OFWs to Kuwait is an “overreaction.” 

These are also the reasons behind the Department of Migrant Workers’ “assurance” last Thursday to the OFWs banned by Kuwait that they will be “deployed eventually.” 

We demand that the Marcos government seriously study and implement proposals to develop the country’s agriculture and industries in order to provide jobs to Filipinos. The genuine solution to problems such as Kuwait’s ban lies not in persisting in labor export, but in generating decent jobs at home. 

Kuwait’s ban on OFWs is just one among the many problems posed by the labor export program to Filipinos and the Philippine government. A concrete plan for the OFWs banned by Kuwait should go beyond providing them cash assistance and helping them find work abroad. 

The Marcos government should start showing concern to the working people in the country by providing immediate relief to the country’s workers. As one of the OFWs banned by Kuwait stated, “Other countries really pay their workers more if you compare it to the offers here in the Philippines.” 

Given the record-high increase in the prices of basic good and payments for services, the Philippine government should implement the legislated and significant wage increase across-the-board nationwide that Filipino workers have been demanding for years. ###