KUWAIT It is a common statement from foreign employers that the work ethics and dedication of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are top notch and unmatched, and Kuwaitis hiring Filipinos are no stranger to this impression.
Upon President Rodrigo R. Duterte's announcement on the total deployment ban of new Filipino workers to Kuwait, some Kuwaiti employers expressed sadness and apprehension over the decision.
In the area of Funaitees in Kuwait, Han Mahmud Gharib, the 33-year old Kuwaiti employer of three Filipinos, said outright that she can't lose them. "They're like my family, like my sisters... I can't lose them, no," Gharib said in an interview.
"I work hard to make my salary like them, I deal with them like sisters," she said. "The bond is strong, I feel (it) when they're sad, then I ask why, maybe some problem there in the Philippines, we usually see what we can do for them."
Gharib, who works as a manager at a financial firm, said as long as her helpers are Filipinos, she always feels at ease whenever she leaves home for office.
After the deployment ban of new Filipino workers to Kuwait was imposed, Gharib admitted she was apprehensive about what will happen next should her kadamas (house helpers) decide to leave and return to the Philippines.
"We are sad when they stopped Filipino hiring in Kuwait," she lamented. "I can't deal with other nationals... I like Filipinos, they are always clean and funny for the kids, I feel safe when I let them stay with my children," she added.
The four-story establishment houses Gharib's family, her sisters and mother, a common extended family set-up in the Gulf state.
Rose Evangelista Reutirez, the first Filipino household service worker at Gharib's home, said there are around 10 kadamas working for the Kuwaiti family.
For Rose who worked for Roqaya Mohammad Deif, the family matriarch, since 1992 and even took care of Gharib who was then a six-year-old girl, their sponsors were fair and helpful to them.
"Kahit sinong bisitang pumupunta dito, 'di nila kami itinuturing na iba, 'di nila ako tinuturing na katulong, kahit ako, ni minsan 'di nila kami tinawag na kadama, para kaming isang pamilya [They never treated us differently. We are like a family]," she shared.
This is also the case for Rita Violeta Versoza, who had been working for 15 years for the same family.
"Kahit hindi na nila sabihing bumalik kami, babalik at babalik pa rin kami sa kanila, dahil ang trato nila sa amin, hindi katulong kundi pamilya talaga [We will always go back to them because they treat us like family]," she said.
The Filipino workers said they get to keep their passports, unlike in other households where the sponsor holds the document. They also get to cook their own food and, among others, get to enjoy their days off every week.
Pinoys exert best effort
Muhammad Ibrahim, owner and general manager of Times Square Hotel, where 60 percent of the employees are Filipino, shared Gharib's view about Filipino workers.
The Filipino-speaking Egyptian, who had been working for more than 25 years in Kuwait, said he admires how Filipinos exert their best effort in everything they do.
"They're astig,'" he said. "They care about their jobs, they are perfect when doing the job, trustful and most of all, you can always depend on them in so many situations, even when it's not under their requirements to do so," he said.
Early this year, Duterte banned the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait following reports of maltreatment and abuses in the Gulf state. This prompted the crafting of a comprehensive agreement to protect Filipino workers in Kuwait and since the two parties' first meeting in Manila, series of consultations have taken place.
At present, the proposed memorandum of understanding is still under review of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior.
When asked how the deployment ban affects him as an employer, Ibrahim said: "Of course malaki 'yung effect niyan sa Kuwait market, kasi halos lahat ng Kuwaiti dependent na sa Filipino workers [It has a huge effect on Kuwaiti market because almost all Kuwaitis are dependent on Filipino workers]."
He continued: "Also, 'di na sila makakakita ng ganyang tao sa iba [They won't find someone else with the same dedication]." (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency