Kuwait deployment ban to jack up unemployment rate

BACOLOD City – The deployment ban on overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait will increase the unemployment rate in the country, a local union leader said.

In a statement to media outfits here, Winnie Sancho, secretary general of the General Alliance of Workers Association (GAWA), said the ban “will have an impact on the problem of unemployment which is already high.”

“Our employment growth cannot sufficiently reduce our unemployment due to the rapid population growth and increasing labor force participation,” Sancho said.

He pointed out that our “unemployment is 5.6 percent or about 2.4 million Filipinos are jobless as of April 2017. Our population over 15 years old as of July 2017 is 70.2 million.”

“Our labor force is about 42.5 million with a labor participation rate of 60.6 percent. The deployment ban will compound our unemployment and underemployment rate.”

“We agree with the wisdom of the ban imposed by the government as a matter of policy,” he said adding that “it will send a strong message to the Kuwaiti government that they treat our Filipino domestic workers as human beings rather than like slaves.”

On Monday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) enforced a ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait over recent deaths of seven migrant workers.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to stop processing overseas employment certificates of Kuwait-bound workers.

The ban came after President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday that he plans to engage Kuwaiti officials in talks following a string of deaths of Filipino women working in the Gulf state. He did not give any details.

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