In a recent statement, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Alan Peter Cayetano, expressed confidence that the official signing of the bilateral agreement between the Philippines and Kuwait will still push through despite the recent scandal involving the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait which has embittered diplomatic relations of the two countries.
The Foreign Affairs Secretary shared that the signing of the agreement is likely to happen by mid-May of this year.
PH Remains Positive on the Approval of the Agreement for OFW Protection Despite Setback with Kuwait
Cayetano added that the Gulf State has been following up the signing of the agreement and so has Labour Secretary Bello. The Philippines is targeting to have the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the Philippines before the start of the holy month of Ramadan in May.
The MoU details the provisions for the protection of Filipino migrant workers in the Gulf State along with several privileges including the use of their mobile phones, the workers’ right to hold on to their passport and other work documents, and to request the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) for an opportunity to change employers in case they experience unfavourable working conditions in the Gulf State.
However, Sec. Cayetano cannot ascertain whether or not the agreement has provisions on the lifting of the deployment ban of workers in the Gulf State.
As of the time being, word hasn’t been heard from the Kuwait government regarding the apology made by Secretary Cayetano regarding the “rescue” operations done by the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait to help distressed OFWs escape their reportedly abusive employers. This series of events ultimately led to the dismissal of Philippine Ambassador Renato Pedro Villa as the country’s primary emissary to the Gulf State.
Cayetano, however, clarified that Villa will remain in the Gulf State to continue providing assistance to Filipino workers who are in need of the aid from the Embassy as of the time being.
The Foreign Affairs Secretary also validated the arrest of the drivers of the Embassy involved in the incident. However, Cayetano expressed optimism in the release of those involved in the scandal since they were simply hired by the Embassy.