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Kuwaiti Social Media Influencer Attacks The OFW’s Day-Off Grant Received Criticism

Sondos Alqattan is a renowned make-up artist who has over 2.3 million followers on Instagram. She made it to the headlines when she publicly stated her strong opposition against the new laws protecting the Overseas Filipino Workers in the Middle East.

The Viral Statements

“How can you have a ‘servant’ in your house who gets to keep their passport with them?”

“And what’s worse is they have one day off every week.”

“If they ran away and went back to their country, who’ll refund me? Honestly, I disagree with this law. I don’t want a Filipino maid anymore.”

Her comments were in Arabic language and translated by an English news channel in Istanbul, Turkey, the TRT World.

The Reforms

The Kuwaiti government provided OFWs with some exemptions in the “Kafala system” last May. This Arabic sponsorship system authorizes employers “to own” their domestic helpers. It allows them to terminate the employment contract anytime they want and decide the terms and conditions. The “Kafala system” has been instrumental to many cases of abuse of domestic migrant workers. It was estimated that there are about 276,000 Filipinos in the country.

The reason for the dispute was over the gruesome death of Joanna Daniella Demafelis, a woman found in a freezer inside an abandoned apartment. It resulted in President Rodrigo Duterte ’s order to ban the deployment of workers to the Gulf state temporarily.

OFWs nowadays are enjoying a one-day leave weekly and keep their passports with them. It came about after a controversial diplomatic row between Kuwait and the Philippines in February 2018.

The Reactions

Alqattan faced a barrage of criticisms moments after her video became viral.

Migrante International, the advocacy group, fighting for OFWs rights in foreign countries vehemently condemned her outburst and called Alqattan a racist.

“We strongly demand that she offer public apology [sic] and express remorse for her disgusting statements.”

“It would be more valuable if she can visit the Philippines to witness the appalling poverty… and find out what hardships [they] had to go through before they can be deployed abroad.”

What was worse were the declarations of beauty companies that she was endorsing in her Instagram posts.

The spokesperson of M. Micallef, a French-based perfume house, said in a BBC interview- “We are totally against the principles expressed by Ms Sondos Alqattan which in no way reflect the Micallef brand.”

A Twitter post from cosmetic company Chelsea Beautique said the Alqattan’s outcry did not reflect the brand’s core beliefs.

Max Factor issued a statement in The National that they were shocked and immediately cut all collaborations with her.

Shiseido said that “it doesn’t support Alqattan’s statements.”

Netizens remarks:

@sondosalqattan I used to like you because i think u are an amazing woman, but what you said about Filipino domestic helper is below the belt, you are nothing but a pretty face, rotten from the inside..
— Kris Aganon (@AganonKris)

Photo Credit: Twitter

OFW workers aren’t anyone’s property. They have their rights to keep their passports and have a day off. I watched many documentaries on Filipino OFW workers that they are being abused and murdered. #StopSlavery #SondosAlQattan
— Jehan Masood (@jehan_masood)

Photo Credit: Twitter

Sodos Alqattan posted another Instagram post last July 24, 2018 saying that she stood firmly by her words. She also said that she never degraded or mistreated any of her domestic employees. She reiterated, however, that they should also “protect the interest of employers” and that passports should be in their possession.

Photo Credit: Instagram

Here’s the video of Alqattan’s interview.

Kuwaiti star's comments on Filipino domestic workers spark outrage

Kuwaiti social media star Sondos Alqattan caused outrage after she complained about Filipino workers getting a day off and not surrendering their passports.

TRT Worldさんの投稿 2018年7月19日木曜日

Source: ABS-CBN News

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