Philippines reimposes ban on workers deploying to Kuwait

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines said on Friday it was reimposing a ban on its citizens going to work in Kuwait after a Filipina was allegedly killed by her employer, echoing a 2018 row between the two countries.

President Rodrigo Duterte approved the ban as his government accused the emirate of covering up the killing of a maid, one of about 240,000 Filipinos working in the Gulf state.

They are among the millions of its citizens the Philippines has sent to work abroad, seeking salaries they cannot get at home.

The money they send back accounts for about 10 per cent of the Philippine economy.

Duterte’s government briefly banned Filipinos deploying for work in Kuwait two years ago amid a diplomatic row that began with the discovery of the remains of a murdered Filipina maid in her employers’ freezer.

“The result of the (Philippine) re-autopsy… indicates that overseas Filipino worker Jeanelyn Villavende was sexually abused,” Duterte spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement, referring to the woman at the centre of the new ban.

Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello alleged on Thursday that an earlier autopsy in Kuwait had concluded that Villavende died from heart failure arising from physical injuries.