President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday rejected the idea of imposing a total deployment ban against Kuwait, saying the Philippine government will continue to negotiate with the gulf state to improve the situation.
“I’m never very comfortable ‘yung nagba-ban na ganun dahil parang ang pag-ban sinasabi mo forever na yan, hindi na pwede… Sometimes, overreaction yung ban. Basta’t ban lang tayo nang ban, hindi naman tama,” Marcos said in an ambush interview after gracing the 125th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Navy.
The president said the Philippine government will pursue negotiations with the Kuwaiti government with regards to the supposed temporary suspension on issuing visas to Filipinos.
“Ang naging problema natin, tayo ang binan ng Kuwait, at ayaw na magpa-issue ng mga bagong visa. Hindi kami nagkakasundo dahil sinasabi nila may paglalabag daw tayo sa kanilang mga rules, wala naman kaming nakikita, kaya’t yan ang naging situation,” he said.
“But you know I don’t want to burn any bridges… 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,” he added.
For Marcos, the Philippine government cannot do anything about it as it is part of the Kuwaiti government’s rules.
“We will just leave that issue open and hopefully, we will continue to negotiate with them, we will continue to consult with them at baka sakali down the road magbago ang sitwasyon, maibalik ngayon ang ating mga workers, lalo na ‘yung mga nabitin, there are about 800 na papunta na dapat sa Kuwait ay hindi na nakapunta dahil nga dito sa bagong ban,” he said.
“So hopefully, down the road, we will continue to work to improve that situation,” added Marcos.
Early this month, the Kuwaiti government announced a temporary suspension on the issuance of visas to Filipinos due to the supposed violation committed by the Philippine government on the bilateral agreement between the two countries.
Due to this, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said the Philippine government is studying the possible lifting of the deployment ban in Kuwait.
Last February, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) banned the deployment of first-time domestic workers to Kuwait following the death of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Julleebee Ranara and other cases of maltreatment of OFWs.
The DFA and the DMW said the Philippines will only lift the deployment ban if Kuwait can guarantee the protection of workers' there, including allowing shelters run by the Philippine government for distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). —VAL, GMA Integrated News