News Release

Palace assures OFW protection in Kuwait amid deployment ban

Malacañang on Thursday, February 15, announced that the President has given marching orders to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to ensure that Filipinos in Kuwait would remain protected amid the Philippine government’s order of a total deployment ban.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. in a Palace press briefing said DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano was set to meet with the Kuwaiti ambassador to seek their cooperation in assuring the security of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf country.

“I was… tasked to inform the nation that the marching order [to] Secretary Cayetano is to ensure that Filipinos are protected in Kuwait. And Secretary Alan Cayetano was tasked to get a commitment from Kuwait on how it will protect Filipino nationals in Kuwait,” Roque said.

The Spokesperson stressed that the Palace stands by the President’s statements against the abuses endured by OFWs from their foreign employers in Kuwait.

“Hindi po pupwedeng tanggalin sa ating Presidente ang panawagan na dapat protektahan ang katauhan, ang karapatang mabuhay ng mga Pilipino sa iba’t ibang [parte ng] daigdig… Katungkulan po ng Presidente na bigyan ng proteksyon ang mga mamamayang Pilipino kahit man nasaan sila,” Roque said.

The Secretary then reminded the Kuwaiti government of its obligation to extend the same protection that it provides its citizens to foreign nationals in their nation, including OFWs.

He said Filipino workers residing in Kuwait have the right to benefit from the same laws that protect Kuwaiti nationals, including the right to receive redress for any injury sustained from abuse.

“I would like to remind Kuwait authorities of the standards by which aliens should be treated in their territory… Under international law, each country is bound to give to the nationals of another country in its territory the benefit of the same laws, the same administration, the same protection, and the same redress for injury which it gives its own citizens, neither more nor less,” Roque said.

The Palace Spokesperson expressed hope that the country’s long-term relations with Kuwait would remain unaffected by the issue, albeit clarifying that the President’s primary concern now is the wellbeing of Filipino migrant workers.

Meanwhile, Roque assured the government’s commitment to provide assistance to the family of Joanna Daniela Demafelis, the Filipina maid whose body was found stored in a freezer.

“Mayroon po tayong standard na binibigay – ang OWWA – sa mga ganitong mga nakakalungkot na pangyayari… So mayroon pong panghanap-buhay, mayroon pong educational benefits para sa mga naiwan, at titingnan pa natin kung madadagdagan pa iyong standard na tulong na binibigay,” he noted.

“[A]ng Presidente naman ay kung mayroong mabibigay, ibibigay po,” he added.

‘INC leader named as special envoy for OFW concerns’

During the same press briefing, Malacañang backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to tap Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo as his special envoy for concerns related to OFWs.

“Ang pagtatalaga po kay Mr. Eduardo Manalo ay dahil meron po naman talagang network si Mr. Manalo, lalong-lalo na sa iba’t ibang mga Pilipino na nagtatrabaho sa iba’t-ibang mga bansa… Matagal na po sila na gumagalaw sa hanay ng mga overseas Filipino workers,” Roque said.

He further stressed that Manalo’s appointment came at a time when there is an urgency to provide additional assistance to Filipino migrant workers. He said the INC leader is competent for the job, given his vast network and his organization’s notable projects intended for OFWs.

“Siguro po itong mga pangyayari ngayon na nagiging biktima ng pag-abuso ang ating mga OFWs ay naging udyok na matalaga itong si Mr. Manalo, dahil nga doon sa kaniyang… malawak na network at iyong kanilang serbisyo na sa ating mga kababayan abroad,” Roque said. ### PCO-Content