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DFA: PH eyeing to lift deployment ban in Kuwait

The Philippine government is studying the possible lifting of the deployment ban in Kuwait after the Arab state recently suspended the issuance of new visas for Filipinos, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said Friday.

In an interview on Dobol B TV, De Vega said that the suspension of issuing new visas was Kuwait’s response to the Philippines’ deployment ban of new household workers in the Arab state in February.

“Pag-iisipan muna kung ili-lift pa natin yung ban,” De Vega said.

(We will think about first the lifting the deployment ban)

“Titignan din natin ang interes. Hindi lang puwedeng pamahalaan ang magde-decide, kami ng DFA, DMW, DOH, Kongreso. Kailangan din namin yung feedback ng public,” he added.

(We will look into other interests. Not only the government, including the DFA, DMW, DOH, and Congress, should decide. We also need to consider the feedback from the public.)

The deployment ban was imposed on Kuwait following the death of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Julleebee Ranara and other cases of maltreatment of OFWs.

Recently, the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry reportedly announced the temporary suspension of issuing visas to Filipinos citing some violation supposedly committed by the Philippine government on the bilateral agreement between the two countries.

According to De Vega, the Kuwaiti government wants to remove the shelters for runaway household workers because these are not allowed under its laws.

He added that the Kuwaiti government does not want the Philippine government to contact the employers of OFWs who reported abuse and other concerns.

De Vega pointed out that the Philippine government is taking these measures to protect Filipino workers based on its laws and regulations.

He said the two countries have a scheduled meeting this May. However, he said it might be postponed to make adjustments to the agenda.

The DFA has also released a statement saying that the Philippines is committed to resolving bilateral issues with all countries in an "amicable manner". 

"In the case of Kuwait, we are confident that with our friendly relations and strong people-to-people links, we shall be able to find a mutually satisfactory solution that will take into account the need to provide maximum protection and access to justice for all our nationals working in the country," read the statement.

There are around 275,000 to 300,000 documented Filipinos in Kuwait, De Vega said. Around 70% are household workers and 30% are non-household workers. —Joviland Rita/ VAL, GMA Integrated News

Tags: Kuwait, OFW, DFA, DMW, news