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‘Filipino workers will benefit from end of kafala system in Qatar’

‘Filipino workers will benefit from end of 
kafala system in Qatar’

Ailyn Agonia
The recent changes to Qatar’s labour laws, which include putting an end to the kafala system, will benefit many Filipino workers in Qatar, Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III has said.
The top Filipino official made the remarks during a virtual media forum held at the DOLE Office in Manila on Wednesday. Currently, there are around 234,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) employed in various sectors in Qatar. More than 90,000 of the nationals are employed as household workers.
The dismantling of the kafala system and introduction of a minimum wage in Qatar following the adoption on August 30 of Law No.18 of 2020 was welcomed by many sectors and international entities, including the International Labor Organization, describing it as a new era for Qatar labour market.
“Many Filipinos will definitely benefit from this and this will encourage our workers to go and work in Qatar. Qatar is a good destination for the deployment of our workers,” said Bello.
The official underscored that Filipino workers based in Qatar receive good treatment from the host country.
During the session, Bello also highlighted the strong and growing demand for Filipino workers overseas, including its medical workers, and cited how many host countries have been recognising the contributions of the Filipino workforce.
“They like our workers. Filipinos are very hardworking, diligent and very competent,” Bello said about the OFWs.
Commenting on the temporary deployment ban imposed by the Philippines on its health workers in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, Bello said the recent exemptions made on the restrictions allows those who have completed their documents as of August 31, 2020 to leave the country to work abroad.
He said, “Together with those balik-manggagawa (refers to land-based workers who renewed their employment contracts with the same principal), these workers can now proceed with their deployment abroad.”
On the call of the EU Parliament for the suspension of the Philippines’ trading privileges with the European Union in response to the country’s rights situation under the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Bello said the allegations has no basis and is “purely a political exercise by the members of the EU parliament”.
He also said there is no basis of imminent threat to the jobs of Filipino workers in view of the EU Parliament call.