Senators commend PH officials for striking deal with Kuwait

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senators praised the Philippines and Kuwait's reported agreement to sign a memorandum protecting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf state.

Senator Joel Villanueva gestures during the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development hearing on the deaths of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), February 21,2018.(Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Joel Villanueva (Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN)

Senator Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, lauded the Palace's announcement that the two countries, amid the diplomatic dispute, will finally sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will ensure Kuwait's commitment to protect OFWs and provide them with better labor conditions in their country.

"We strongly commend the efforts of the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments to finally have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will ensure the protection and better labor conditions for our OFWs in Kuwait especially the household service workers," Villanueva said in a statement Wednesday night, shortly after the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson (OPS) broke the news.

Villanueva said that the signing of the MOU will kickstart "a better era for our kababayans (countrymen) and diplomatic relations with Kuwait."

"We also hope that with this MOU, cases of abuses against our overseas workers will be prevented and resolved in a swift and just manner," he added.

Senator Cynthia Villar, a known OFW advocate, said she also welcomes efforts to protect Filipino workers in Kuwait.

"We welcome initiatives and efforts to come up with a memo of understanding that will ensure protection and well being of OFWs in Kuwait. Hopefully, it will enhance diplomatic ties between our nations," Villar said.

The OPS said President Duterte had directed Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to meet Kuwaiti officials on Tuesday night.

Roque said that the supposed agreement on OFW protection will be signed on May 11.