Category Archives: Asia

5 dead, several injured as fire hits Manila Pavilion Hotel

Manila: A fire that hit Pavilion Hotel and casino complex in the Philippine capital on Sunday killed at least 5 employees, several others were injured and forced the evacuation of more than 300 guests, some by helicopter.


PH, Kuwait to sign MOU on OFW protection this month


The Philippine and Kuwaiti governments are set to sign this month the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).This, after labor officials from both countries approved the final MOU draft on Friday in Manila.

“In two weeks, the panels agreed to have the signing most likely in Kuwait,” said Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Silvestre Bello III in an interview. Prior to the approval of the final draft, the parties have difficulties in resolving issues on passport and employment contract.

But Bello said the two contentious issues were resolved, as the Kuwaiti representatives have agreed that the Philippine Embassy where the OFW is employed can keep the worker’s passport and should not be withheld by the employer.

As for the contract issue, the other party also agreed that the employment contract will be in accordance with Philippine laws.“Contentious issues were resolved, no more deadlock,” he said. On the other hand, both parties have agreed on other provisions in the draft MOU such as the KD120 “$400” net per month salary of workers and that the employer will open a bank account where the salary of the worker will be deposited, as proof that the worker is being paid.

The provision allowing the Philippine embassy in the country where the OFW is employed to keep his/her passport and the one allowing the worker to have a cellphone are non-issue for the Kuwaiti government, Bello said. “Also the transfer from one employer to another, the OFW must give a written consent and that transfer must also be approved in writing by our Labor Attache,” he added.

Bello noted that there is no guarantee that the deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait will be lifted once the MOU is signed as President Rodrigo Duterte wants justice to be served to OFW Johanna Demafelis, whose body was found inside a freezer in Kuwait last month.“If you recalll when President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the total deployment ban, he said, he will only consider lifting the ban if there will be the MOU and Johanna Demafelis is given justice,” he said.

The two-day negotiation between the two countries was held at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on March 15-16

Philippines, Kuwait reach agreement on protection of OFWs


Manila: Philippines, Kuwait agreed that the employment & recruitment of OFWs will be governed by standard employment contract. A joint committee will be formed to recommend a unified contract, Secretary Bello says Kuwait finally agreed to 2 contentious provisions in the Memorandum of Understanding for OFW protection.Also part of the final draft of agreement is that the OFW can also keep his/her passport or surrender it to the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait


Philippines-Kuwait negotiations on domestic workers protection pact resumes in Manila On Thursday


#Manila: The Philippines will resume negotiations with Kuwait this week on what Manila hopes would be a model labor agreement that would provide strong guarantees on the safety and welfare of Filipino household service workers. The Department of Foreign Affairs said an eight-member Kuwaiti delegation will be in Manila from 15 to 16 March 2018 for the negotiations on the proposed “Agreement on Domestic Workers’ Recruitment, Employment, and Protection Between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the State of Kuwait.”

“We are looking forward to the conclusion of this bilateral agreement that we hope will be a model document in terms of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure the safety and well-being of our household service workers in Kuwait,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said. Secretary Cayetano issued the statement on Monday evening shortly after he and Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III met at the Manila Hotel with foreign affairs and labor officials involved in the negotiations.

The Secretary said the Philippines should go beyond the usual in the negotiations with Kuwait, noting that bilateral labor agreements Manila had previously entered into with other countries look good on paper but could not be effectively implemented. “President Duterte wants this agreement to be different from the other agreements we signed with other countries by making sure that whatever is written there will translate into real, actionable measures that will protect our kababayans from exploitation and abuse,” Secretary Cayetano said.

The Secretary said the Philippines was earlier able to secure the commitment of Kuwait on several matters, including the minimum monthly salary of KD120.00; rest hours of at least eight hours per day; possession of their passports and mobile phones; and limiting their work to only one household, During the Manila Hotel meeting, Secretary Cayetano again underscored to the members of the Philippine negotiating panel the need to include more practical measures to make the proposed agreement more implementable. Among the measures Secretary Cayetano earlier said he would want to see in the agreement would be payment of salaries direct to the bank account of Filipino domestic workers whenever feasible and a mechanism that would allow them to file their complaints directly with Kuwaiti authorities.

Secretary Cayetano said these measures should be in place before the DFA and the DOLE would recommend the lifting of the labor deployment ban that the President declared early this year in the wake of the reported widespread abuses of Filipino domestic workers, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said the Kuwaiti delegation that will participate in the negotiations would be led by Ambassador Ghanim Saqer Al-Ghanim, Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The other members of the Kuwaiti panel are from the Residence Affairs Department of the Ministry of Interior and the Public Authority for Manpower of the Ministry of Labor.

Nepal plane crash survivors describe chaos


Survivors and witnesses of a plane crash in Nepal have described scenes of chaos when the aircraft went down killing at least 49 people.
Witnesses said there was a loud bang and that the plane shook violently while people wept inside the aircraft and chanted.
The cause of the crash remains unclear, and an investigation is under way.
The flight, carrying 71 passengers and crew crashed while landing at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan airport.