2023 May 26
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday said he is not bent on imposing a total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait.
Reacting to lawmakers’ call for a total deployment ban to Kuwait, Marcos expressed opposition to the idea, saying he does not want to “burn any bridges” with the Arab nation.
“Well, mag-baban tayo (we will impose a ban)? Ako (Me), I’m never very comfortable ‘yung nagba-ban na ganoon dahil parang ang pag-ban, sinasabi mo, forever na ‘yan, hindi na pwede (to impose a ban because when you do that, you are saying that it will forever be implemented),” Marcos told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Navy’s (PN) 125th anniversary celebration at its headquarters on Roxas Boulevard in the City of Manila.
Marcos said it was improper to “overreact” to Kuwait’s recent move to suspend the issuance of new entry visas for Filipinos.
For now, the Philippines will respect Kuwait’s decision, Marcos said.
“Sometimes, overreaction, ‘yun bang basta ban lang tayo ng ban, hindi naman tama (such as imposing ban is not right). 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 said.
The President added that he preferred to settle the issue through diplomatic negotiations.
“It’s their country. Those are their rules. So, we will just leave that issue open,” he said while remaining bullish that Kuwait might reconsider accepting OFWs and lift its deployment ban “in a little while.”
“Hopefully we will continue to negotiate with them, we will continue to consult with them at baka sakali (and we are hoping that) down the road magbago ang sitwasyon, maibalik ngayon ang ating mga workers, lalo na ‘yung mga nabitin (the situation will change and we will be able to send our workers there, especially those who were unable to go there),” Marcos said.
Kuwait imposed an entry ban and suspended the visa issuance to all Filipinos coming to the Gulf state in May, or 10 months after the Philippine government halted the deployment of first-time household service workers there.
Kuwait did not formally disclose the reason behind its decision but the local media reported that it stemmed from the Philippines’ alleged non-compliance with the 2018 labor agreement concerning the operation of a temporary shelter for distressed Filipinos inside the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is seeking another dialogue with the Kuwaiti government.
Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)