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President Marcos won’t impose total deployment ban to Kuwait

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
President Marcos wonât impose total deployment ban to Kuwait
Kuwait suspended the issuance of entry and work visas to Filipinos due to the Philippines’ supposed non-compliance with the labor agreement between the two countries. Only Filipinos with valid visas can enter Kuwait starting May 10.
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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will not impose a total deployment ban of workers to Kuwait despite the recent decision of the Gulf state to suspend issuance of work visas to Filipinos, President Marcos said yesterday.

“Our workers can return there, especially those who have pending (visa applications),” Marcos said in an interview at the Philippine Navy headquarters in Manila, noting that his administration does not want to “burn any bridges.”

Kuwait suspended the issuance of entry and work visas to Filipinos due to the Philippines’ supposed non-compliance with the labor agreement between the two countries. Only Filipinos with valid visas can enter Kuwait starting May 10.

He said Philippine officials would continue to talk with their counterparts in Kuwait to iron things out.

“It’s their country. Those are their rules. So, we will just leave that issue open and hopefully we will continue to negotiate with them. We will continue to consult with them and maybe down the road the situation will change,” the President said of the recent action of Kuwait.

The President said there are around 800 Filipino workers who failed to enter Kuwait due to the new deployment ban. “Hopefully down the road, we will continue to work to improve that situation,” he said.

“I don’t want to burn any bridges… maybe in the future, maybe in a little while, a few months from now, a year from now, the situation will change... maybe we can send our workers again to Kuwait,” Marcos added.

Despite Kuwait’s decision, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is not implementing a deployment ban.

Addressing an online media briefing, DMW Secretary Susan Ople expressed her agreement with the Chief Executive’s foreign policy direction, emphasizing that the Philippines aims to maintain friendly relations with all nations, including Kuwait.

“I agree 100 percent with our President because his foreign policy direction is clear: the Philippines is a friend to all,” stated Ople. “The President is right in saying let us not burn bridges.”

Ople further conveyed her belief that the current issue is merely a misunderstanding between the two countries and expressed confidence in the eventual reconciliation and understanding between them.

Earlier, Pangasinan 3rd District Rep. Rachel Arenas asked the government to impose a total deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to Kuwait on the part of Manila due to “heinous crimes committed” on Filipino migrant workers.

Yesterday, the Chief Executive said banning the deployment of workers is an “overreaction.”

“Sometimes, the ban is an overreaction. We just resort to banning and that’s improper. We have to react to the situation as it is. And I think the proper reaction is to take the decision of the Kuwaiti government to no longer issue new visas,” Marcos stressed.

But Arenas, who chairs the committee on foreign affairs of the House of Representatives, expressed belief the decision of the Kuwaiti government was meant to “pressure” the Philippine government to lift its deployment ban on first-time household Filipino workers to the Middle Eastern country.

The Philippines decided to temporarily ban the deployment of first-time household service workers to Kuwait to ensure their safety following the murder of OFW Jullebee Ranara by her employer’s son. Ranara’s burnt corpse was found in the desert.

The previous administration imposed a temporary deployment ban due to the murder of another OFW, Joan Demafelis in 2018.

KUWAIT

WORKERS

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