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Marcos: Deployment ban over Kuwait visa issue might be an overreaction

Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines -- President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is not in favor of banning deployment of migrant workers to Kuwait, which has suspended giving new visas to Filipinos over issues related to a bilateral labor agreement signed in 2018.

Marcos told media Friday that the Philippines has not violated the agreement but also respects Kuwait's position in imposing the ban.

The Philippines earlier this year stopped the deployment of domestic workers to Kuwait in response to the death of Jullebee Ranara in January.

The case also prompted a review of the 2018 agreement, which itself was prompted by the need for better protections for overseas Filipino workers in the Gulf state.

"Sometimes that is an overreaction that we just impose bans and that is not right," he said in a mix of English and Filipino, adding that he does not want to "burn bridges" since the situation could still change and Filipinos might be allowed back.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Migrant Workers have met with their counterparts in Kuwait on the ban.

The government has remained firm that maintaining shelters that it has put up for OFWs in distress is non-negotiable and is required by Philippine law.

"The proper reaction is to take the decision of the Kuwaiti government to no longer issue new visas," Marcos said on the proposal for a deployment ban.

Migrant workers' advocacy group Migrante has said that bans reduce workers to "bargaining chips" for governments and do not address the issue of OFW welfare and protection.

FERDINAND MARCOS JR.

KUWAIT

OFWS

OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS

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