KUWAIT: After instituting several reforms at the Philippine Embassy shelter, the number of Filipino runaway housemaids continues to decline, said a labor official. Speaking at ‘Kapihan sa Kuwait’, a regular weekly forum for the Filipino community held at the Carlton Tower Hotel, Philippine Labor Attache to Kuwait Cesar Chavez noted several reforms were instituted by his two month-old administration. “The 10-15 a day rate is now down 3-5 runaway housemaids daily. This is the result of reforms at the embassy, especially on the requirements acceptable to us at the shelter,” he said.
The Kapihan sa Kuwait forum, aired over Internet radio (ustream.tv), is hosted by four Pinoy media personalities in Kuwait led by Pastor Gil Bantugan, Maxxy Santiago, Ben Garciaand Kuya Germs. The latest event on Tuesday was attended by Consul General Raul Dado, Assistant labor Attache Ching Ardivilla and Welfare Officer Norlita Lugtu. “During the course of my two months’ stay here, I studied the system and procedures in the delivery of basic services to our workers. We have done improvements and reforms in the processing of work contracts (submitted by recruitment agencies). We are now expediting release from two to three days to just one day,” he added. “We hope to improve further in the area of processing. We also adjusted the rules for the admission of distressed workers – we kept the good ones and we added new rules to help our runaway workers,” Chavez mentioned. “We are open to suggestions to serve OFWs as we want it to be. In the management of cases resolution, we have adjusted some points, like our intention to pursue cases against erring and abusive employers.
There are lots more – reintegration programs by OWWA and community activities will be strengthened too. Starting next year, we will focus more on the preventive mechanisms to prevent disputes between employees and employers. We will be concentrating more on preventive measures – we believe prevention is the best cure, and we also hope for the continuing cooperation of the Filipino community leaders and organizations here,” he stated. Chavez said that most of the problems of runaways are trivial in nature. “Simple misunderstandings, non-payment of salary for a month, and maids are fleeing. There are many cases of workers who only want a transfer to another employer. Sometimes they only want to see their boyfriends and one them was encouraged to abscond by her friend because she had a better pay. These petty problems are not acceptable reasons for running away ….