Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Paul Cortes.
PHOTO BY JONATHAN YBERA/EXPAT MEDIA
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Paul Raymund Cortes said that the Philippines did not commit any violation that led to Kuwait recently suspending the entry of Filipinos into the Gulf country.
Last week, Kuwait suspended all types of work visas and entry visas for Filipinos after the Philippines reportedly violated its bilateral labor agreement, local media reported, citing sources from the Ministry of Interior.
Cortes, who previously served as Consul General in Dubai, confirmed that Kuwait formally informed the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday about the suspension of entry visa issuance, but did not provide a reason behind its decision.
Cortes said that a Philippine delegation is scheduled to visit Kuwait this month to discuss the ban.
“What we hope to achieve when we get there is to clarify the issues of why there was a visa suspension, what will it take to resolve these issues between the Philippines and Kuwait,” Cortes said during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.
Kuwait Times reported that the ban stems 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.
Cortes, however, said that the Philippines did not violate any deal, and that the establishment of centers inside embassies is mandated and non-negotiable under the Philippine law.
“We could not have agreed to a provision that will allow us not to establish a shelter.. because that’s our law. Of course, whenever we have an agreement with another country, we always connect that with our domestic legislation,” Cortes said in Filipino.
In February, the Philippines banned first-time Filipino household service workers from entering Kuwait after the brutal murder of a 35-year-old Filipina housemaid by her Kuwaiti employer’s teenage son. Her charred remains were found in the desert.
The Philippines also recently suspended the accreditation of new recruitment agencies in Kuwait where an estimated 290,000 Filipinos live and work. ICA/Expat Media
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