FILIPINO household service workers in Kuwait can now heave a sigh of relief after the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the Philippines and the Gulf state that lays down the ideal working conditions for them, such as one day-off, a 12-hour sleep or rest period, protection from physical abuse, and the right to a decent meal, among others.

This is a positive development that puts back on track bilateral relations that had been strained after a series of unfortunate events.

The first of these was the murder of a a Filipina domestic helper whose body was discovered in a freezer in an abandoned apartment by authorities only a year later.

The second was the rescue mission launched by the Philippine embassy in Kuwait to save Pinay domestics from abusive employers. The video of the rescue mission angered Kuwaiti authorities, which led to the expulsion of our ambassador from Kuwait as “persona non grata”.

But it appears that both sides worked feverishly behind the scenes to repair the damaged bilateral ties, with the the signing of the MOU and the partial lifting by our Department of Labor and Employment of its ban on deployment to the Gulf state offering ample proof of their willingness to normalize relations as soon as possible.

We commend the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments for saving our relations from collapse, which could have led to the loss of jobs of our 260,000 OFWs, most of them domestics, and hope that joint efforts would lead to the full protection of the rights and welfare of OFWs in the Gulf state.

p: wjg