Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Philippines Sends Officials to Kuwait after Diplomatic Fallout

Malacañang on Tuesday announced that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has designated Secretary Abdullah Mama-o as special envoy to Kuwait Malacañang on Tuesday announced that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has designated Secretary Abdullah Mama-o as special envoy to Kuwait
Anna Jefferson | 11 May, 2018, 15:24

The Philippines and Kuwait on Friday signed a deal to provide better protection for Filipino migrant workers in the Gulf state following a diplomatic row that strained ties between the two nations.

Roque also said in a press briefing via Facebook live in Kuwait Wednesday evening that the President's demands for the Kuwaiti government were included in agreement, particularly that Filipino workers get seven hours of sleep, are well-fed, get to enjoy holidays and won't have their passports confiscated by their employers.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said he will first meet his Kuwaiti counterpart before the signing. "They will not extradite him to (Kuwait) but there will be a trial in Lebanon and it would be participated in by Kuwait authorities as well as Philippine authorities", Roque said.

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

Among the provisions of the deal are the creation of a 24/7 hotline where Filipino workers may report abuses and a special police unit to respond to such complaints. Warrants of arrest were also issued against Filipino diplomats who participated in the rescue effort.

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But Kuwaitis sought to end the crisis after Duterte said on Sunday that he was making permanent the departure ban in place since February, when a Filipina maid was found murdered in her body was found in her employer's freezer.

Mamao's mission includes recovering the Filipino diplomats and drivers facing charges for the controversial rescue of distressed OFWs in Kuwait, overseeing the repatriation of workers who wish to return home, and forging a labor protection pact with Kuwait, according to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

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

Quoting a top official from the Kuwaiti government, Special Envoy Mama-o said today's signing of the "Agreement on the Employment of Domestic Workers" could pave the way for an improved Philippine-Kuwait diplomatic relation. In 2017, a total of P42 billion were remitted from the Gulf state.

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