Kuwaiti social media star ‘unapologetic’ of controversial rant vs. Filipino workers’ rights

Marje Pelayo   •   July 24, 2018   •   5753

 

Kuwaiti social media influencer and make-up artist Sondos Alqattan (Photo taken from Instagram @sondos_aq)

 

In a statement posted on her Instagram Stories on Tuesday (July 24), Kuwaiti social media influencer Sondos Alqattan remained “unapologetic” of her controversial remarks against Filipino household workers in the Gulf State.

Alqattan, in what she claimed as her “responsive clarification”, said she actually treats her employees very well and “not on any circumstances in the present or past have mistreated, degraded, or in any way mistreated” her employees.

“We, employee/employer, reside in the same house and consume/share the same food and work are shared around the premise and I don’t impose long working hours. [O]n the contrary, the working hours are flexible,” she said.

Alqattan statement posted on her Instagram account @sondos_aq

Alqattan stood by her position against giving domestic workers days to rest as she stressed that “the condition differs from a household worker compared to a business worker.”

Alqattan is a beauty blogger with 2.3 million followers on Instagram and 116,000 followers on Twitter.

She went viral last week for her video post ranting about providing Filipino workers the right to keep their passports and getting one day off a week as provisioned in the Philippines-Kuwait agreement on OFW protection signed in May 2018.

Kuwaiti social media influencer rants over Filipino workers’ rights (Photo taken from Instagram @sondos_aq)

Meanwhile, another blogger from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) named Khalid Al Ameri responded to Alqattan’s rant through a video on Facebook published on July 21.

Artist and blogger Khalid Al Ameri responded to Alquattan’s racist remarks in defense of household workers (Posted via Facebook)

Ameri, in defense of Filipino workers, called Alqattan’s arguments as “ridiculous” especially that which gives household workers’ the right to keep their passports.

“Every job in the world has a day off, a day to rest, a day to go out, a day to enjoy life. I mean we are not robots at the end of the day. We are all humans and expect to have time to rest and time for ourselves,” he said.

Ameri said he “hates someone who disagrees with someone’s human rights based on where they’re from, what they look like, or what they believe in,” impliedly referring to Alqattan.

Alqattan’s video was slammed on social media, with some critics calling out companies to drop sponsorship deals with her.

Some cosmetics brands have already cut ties with Alqattan including make-up giant Max Factor, the Gulf News reported.

Netizens from around the world are continuously calling out companies to do the same, while some are saying they would stop supporting brands that endorses Alqattan. – Marje Pelayo

Filipino household workers not yet covered by labor reforms in Saudi Arabia — DFA official

Marje Pelayo   •   September 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government is in talks with the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) as regards cooperation on the welfare and benefits of Filipino household workers there, Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Robert Borje said on Thursday.

The Kingdom, he said, is currently implementing labor reforms, however, these do not cover Filipino household workers.

“Mas paiigtingin ang pag-uusap ng Pilipinas at ng KSA kung ano pa ang dapat gawin,” said Borje at Thursday’s Laging Handa press briefing.

“Sa ngayon nga po hindi pa kasama ang household workers natin sa category ng reform, labor reform initiative ng Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pero kasama po ito sa kanilang prayoridad. Iyon po ang kanilang assurance sa atin noong nakausap po natin sila,” he added.

In his speech at the 76th UN General Assembly on Wednesday (September 22), President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his call to abolish the ‘kafala system’ or the sponsorship system being imposed in the Arab states used to monitor migrant unskilled workers.

Duterte maintained that “nothing can justify its continued existence.”

Nevertheless, Borje said the government is working continuously to achieve the needed reforms for the protection of Filipino migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.

“Asahan po ninyo na through the [Department of Labor and Employment] and the Department of Foreign Affairs [DFA] ay gagawain po ang lahat upang maayos at mabigyan ng karampatang atensyon ang reporma,” the official said.

NBI willing to send team to Libya to look into the death of 4 Pinoy oil workers

Marje Pelayo   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is willing to send a forensic team to Libya to dig into the case of four Filipinos killed in the country.

But NBI Spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said he has not received an official request from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“I have yet to receive the official request of DFA thru our Ambassador to Libya His Excellency Elmer Cato. Willing to send a team depending on the request of DFA and the approval from DOJ,” he said.

“We have initial coordination with the immediate family members and relatives of the victims,” he added.

All four Filipinos were oil workers abducted and killed by Daesh terrorists in Libya six years ago.

At present, Lavin assured that the NBI is in coordination with the victims’ families.

Filipino workers in Czech Republic to enjoy minimum wage increase starting January 2021

Marje Pelayo   •   December 14, 2020

Workers in the Czech Republic, including Filipino workers, will receive an increase in their monthly minimum wage starting January 2021.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced the good news as the Republic’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs emphasized that workers will receive a monthly minimum wage of 15,200 Czech Koruna (CZK) up to 30,400 CZK, based on the worker’s job classification. 

Starting next year, the following monthly rates will apply to workers with a specified weekly working time of 40 hours:  

CZK 15,200 (P33,000) for kitchen helpers, seamstresses, cleaners, delivery man (1st classification of jobs)  

CZK 16,800 (P37,000) for diggers, scaffolders, maids, traffic aids or asphalt layers (2nd classification of jobs)  

CZK 18,500 (P40,000) for bricklayers, plumber, plumber and heating engineers, waiter, bartender, barber (3rd classification of jobs)  

CZK 20,500 (P45,000) for guide and interpreters, specialist chef, tailor in model and custom productions (4th classification of jobs)  

CZK 22,600 (P49,000) for bus drivers, dispatchers, paramedics, general nurses, midwives, accountants market researchers, kindergarten teachers (5th classification of jobs)  

CZK 24,900 (P53,000) for sales clerks, special pedagogues, network administrators, and IT system creators (6th classification of jobs)  

CZK 27,500 (P60,000) for financial experts, doctors, pharmacists, marketing experts or programmers (7thclassification of jobs)  

CZK 30,400 (P67,000) for experts in financial and businesses organizations, and scientists (8th classification of jobs) 

Meanwhile, the new minimum wage rates are still subject to deductions for income tax and social security contributions.

The said increase in the minimum wage was made by the Government of Czech in consideration to the demand of the union and the business sector in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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