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Bello warns of Saudi deployment ban after OFW rapes

July 8, 2021 Lee Ann P. Ducusin 286 views

THE Department of Labor and Employment yesterday warned that President Rodrigo Duterte may impose a ban on sending workers to Saudi Arabia following several incidents of sexual abuse of Filipino women.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III issued the warning in the wake of two cases of two overseas Filipina workers who were recently sexually abused by their employers.

On June 17, an OFW identified as “Rose” asked to be rescued after she was raped by her male employer and physically abused by his wife. Rose returned to the Philippines on June 25.

Meanwhile, another OFW, identified as “Michelle,” was raped by two Saudi nationals, the Philippine Overseas Labor and Office confirmed.

“She was sexually abused, meaning raped by her former employer, who is a policeman, and her current employer. She is now pregnant for 2 months,” Bello said.

Michelle was also sent home to the Philippines.

The labor chief then ordered the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to temporarily suspend deployment of new workers to Saudi Arabia.

“While the investigation is ongoing, I’m putting forth the foreign recruitment agency and the Philippine recruitment agency under suspension. If we don’t get justice for our OFWs, the president may again consider declaring a ban to Saudi Arabia,” he added.

In June, Duterte wrote to the King of Saudi Arabia, asking for labor reform initiatives and the removal of the sponsorship system.

Saudi Arabia said it is open for re-negotiation of the memorandum of agreement for labor reform initiatives.