Philippines Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs: 'No plans to shut Philippines embassy shelter in Kuwait.'
25 May 2023, 12:00 AM
30 June 2023, 12:00 AM
The delegation, consisting of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Filipino Workers Department, held meetings with Kuwaiti officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the labor department. Their objective was to find a legal solution that satisfies both sides. It should be noted that there are still divergent positions, but officials from both sides are diligently working to bridge the gap. Fortunately, there is agreement on many of the demands put forth by the Philippines, as they are already stipulated in Kuwaiti laws; however, some of these measures need to be implemented.
Kuwait sticking to its position regarding the two points of the “shelter” in the Philippine embassy, and the labor offices’ communication with labor sponsors, and considering them the gateway for any treatment of the crisis, reports Aljarida daily.
Kuwait believes that these two points represent a violation of laws and the bilateral labor agreement, and therefore no embassy may establish such a shelter center outside the affiliation of the two authorities concerned in this regard, namely the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Public Authority for Manpower. Local labor information revealed that members of the Philippine delegation arrived in Kuwait, and are expected to start holding meetings with the concerned government agencies, with the aim of paving the way for a new agreement that addresses the demands of the two parties
In parallel with the Kuwaiti side’s assurances in the talks (Public Authority for Manpower and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to adhere to the directives of the First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Acting Minister of Defense Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled regarding “Manila’s non-compliance with the terms of the labor agreement”, the Philippines escalated its rhetoric and confirmed, in the words of its Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Eduardo de Vega, that the Philippines has no intention of closing its shelter for runaway or mistreated workers in Kuwait, despite the pressure that Kuwait exerts on it, and the ban it imposed on its workers.
De Vega said, in a television interview yesterday, “While Kuwait is concerned about the shelter that the Philippine government has established in foreign lands, the Philippines will not close it because it will have negative repercussions on our workers. First of all, if we shut it down, what will happen to the fleeing Filipinos? They will end up on the streets and be arrested by the police. We therefore confirm that we do not intend to close this shelter, which was one of the two recurring issues that the Kuwaiti government was concerned about regarding the bilateral labor agreement between the two countries.”