May 20, 2018

Philippines Sends Officials to Kuwait after Diplomatic Fallout

11 May 2018, 03:23 | Silvia Roy

Kuwait, Philippines to sign labour deal after worker rescue row

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Presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers and Muslim concerns Abdullah Mamao has been designated as special envoy to Kuwait to help normalize the country's relations with the Gulf state, MalacaƱang announced yesterday.

"I think they really wanted to resolve the situation".

Philippine labour and employment secretary Silvestre Bello indicated he would recommend a partial lifting of the work ban to Duterte soon, allowing skilled and professional workers to be deployed to Kuwait.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano arrives in Kuwait on May 10, 2018 and was met by Kuwaiti Ambassador to the Philippines Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh (L) and Philippine Consul General Noordin Lomondot (R).

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The proposed labor deal would include provisions such as no confiscation of passport - depositing instead with the Philippine embassy, seven hours of sleep, a day off, permission to cook food, and no physical abuse.

"It looks like naman that everything na hiningi, tapos may dinagdag lang kami two days ago", Cayetano said.

Roque said Kuwait agreed to create a special unit within its police force that the Philippine embassy can contact at all hours in cases of complaints by Filipino workers.

Government officials have interchangeably used memorandum of understanding and memorandum of agreement to refer to the labor deal.

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Earlier, a top Kuwaiti official declared that the diplomatic row between the Philippines and Kuwait sparked by the video footages showing a Filipino domestic helper being rescued from the household of her employer should be considered a "thing of the past". The presidential palace said the labor issue had been ironed out, only to be told by Kuwait that it had expelled Villa and recalled its own ambassador to Manila.

Duterte imposed a ban on deployment of new migrant workers to Kuwait after the remains of Joanna Demafelis were found stored in a freezer in an abandoned flat in Kuwait's Al Shaab District.

"Kuwait has expressed the value of Filipinos in Kuwait".

The minister was keen to the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for OFW protection in Kuwait, which is expected to take place this Friday (May 11).

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Roque said tomorrow they will be visiting the Filipino community in Kuwait who are living in shelters.

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