‘Deployment ban strong statement vs. OFW abuses’
VP Leni calls for immediate signing of bilateral agreement to protect Pinoy workers in Kuwait
Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday underscored the importance of a pending bilateral agreement between the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments, which seeks to protect the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait.
In her weekly radio show, BISErbisyong LENI, on RMN-dzXL 558, VP Leni said President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement over the suspension of OFW deployment to Kuwait is a strong response to reports of violence against Filipino workers in the Gulf nation, including the recent discovery of the body of a missing Filipino household worker in a freezer inside an abandoned apartment in Kuwait City.
“Tingin ko tama iyong ginawa ng ating Pangulo,” she said. “Talagang isang malakas na statement [ito] sa mga nangyayaring karahasan.”
On Sunday’s episode, VP Leni and co-anchor Ely Saludar interviewed Atty. Hans Cacdac, administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), who said that a draft of the bilateral agreement for OFWs’ protection has been sent to the Kuwaiti government, now awaiting its signing.
Cacdac also said that the Kuwaiti government’s invitation for President Duterte to visit its country is “one of the indicators” of talks over such agreement.
The Vice President said she hopes the agreement will be signed when the President makes the trip. She noted that while repatriation has begun for OFWs there, measures must be in place to protect many of more than 250,000 Filipinos who may still wish to remain there to continue working.
“Sana iyong kaniyang pagbisita magbibigay ng pressure sa pamahalaan ng Kuwait na pirmahan na. Kasi kahit ganito iyong nangyayari, ang reality talaga, iyong mga Pilipinong nandoon na hindi naman nagdadaan sa ganitong pagsubok, ayaw ding umuwi kasi siyempre iniisip nila iyong kanilang employment. So kailangang siguraduhin natin na iyong maiiwan talagang protected,” she added.
Earlier, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Kuwait Ambassador to the Philippines Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh, who has met with the President amid the issues, has committed to help expedite the signing the said agreement.