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Kuwait expels Philippine ambassador amid diplomatic row

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Philippine Embassy in Kuwait

 

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)  has confirmed that the Kuwaiti government has expelled Ambassador Renato Villa and has given him a week to return to Manila.

The expulsion comes in the wake of Kuwait’s diplomatic protest after videos emerged showing the undercover rescue of distressed Filipino workers by embassy personnel.

In a statement sent to media, the DFA said it finds the action taken by Kuwait “deeply disturbing” especially after Kuwaiti Ambassador Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh assured DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano during their recent meeting that all is well despite the incident.

The Department added that it will seek an explanation from Ambassador Saleh first thing on Thursday.

Diplomatic tensions have been simmering between the two nations triggered by the murder of a Filipina domestic helper in the Arab country.— UNTV News & Rescue

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109 undocumented OFWs return home from Dubai

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Undocumented OFWs who availed the amnesty program of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Department of Foreign Affairs

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday brought home 109 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Dubai.

The agency has now repatriated a total of 838 OFWs since the amnesty program began in August.

The Office of Migrant Workers Affairs shouldered airline tickets, exit fines and other penalties of the returning OFWs.

Each of the repatriates were given financial assistance of P5,000 as part of the government’s “all-out support” for the returning OFWs.

“Your presence here today demonstrates the kind of care and compassion President Duterte has for our overseas workers,” Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said

She also reminded all Filipinos who are seeking employment overseas to make sure that they go through the proper application process and follow the rules and regulations of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Undocumented Filipinos who wish to return to the Philippines under this program will be assisted by the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai and the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes encouraged qualified Filipinos to take advantage of the UAE’s amnesty program before the 31 October 2018 deadline, to give the Embassy and the Consulate General ample time to process the necessary documents.

(Source: DFA)

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POEA to blacklist Kuwaiti beauty blogger over ‘racist’ remarks

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2018

 

 

Kuwaiti beauty blogger Sondos Alqattan (Image taken from Instagram @sondos_aq)

 

Kuwaiti social media star and beauty blogger Sondos Alqattan went viral on social media for her racist remarks on Filipino migrant workers for having a regular day-off and employer ’s non-confiscation of household workers’ passports.

Her remarks sparked outrage not only from Filipinos and foreign nationals but also among her fellow Kuwaiti citizens.

Due to this, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is studying to blacklist Alqattan.

“Titingan natin dito na hindi na siya magbe-benefit doon sa ating deployment process, madi-disqualify siya to apply for a deployment of a Filipino worker dahil ayaw niyang sumunod,” said POEA Usec. Bernard Olalia.

Olalia emphasized that the labor agreement between the Philippines and Kuwait is clear-cut to protect the rights and ensure the safety of the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Kuwait.

This includes rest day, right to keep their documents such as passports and the right accommodation and food among others.

“Ito ay mandatory. Hindi ito directory. Hindi recommendatory at nobody can even question that, not even any foreign employers and entities. That is our law and they should respect that,” said Olalia.

POEA has warned foreign nationals of blacklisting those who will disregard the labor agreement signed by the Philippines and their countries.

Meanwhile, the group Migrante Internacional has urged for the public apology of the Kuwaiti media star over her controversial comments.

“Humihingi kami sa kanya ng public apology. Humihingi ka sa kanya ng pagre-reverse ng kanyang mga statement at hinahamon namin siya na kilalanin at alamin ang kalagayan ng mga domestic helper para malaman niya kung bakit sila nagta-trabaho doon at bakit kailangan nila ng sapat na pahinga. Bakit nila kailangan ng sapat na kompensasyon at bakit sila dapat na ituring na tao,” said Migrante Internacional spokesperson Arman Hernando.

Several companies reportedly canceled their endorsement deals with Alqattan following the issue.

A London-based cosmetic brand said they have decided to remove the videos of Alqattan from their social media channels.

In a new video post, Alqattan has refused to issue a public apology for her comments.

She defended that she has no regrets over her statements against Filipino domestic helpers.

Alqattan has over two million followers on her social media accounts and known for her makeup tutorial videos. — UNTV News & Rescue

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More OFWs in Kuwait register for 2019 polls

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Kuwait register for the overseas absentee voting program.

 

KUWAIT – The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait is pleased to announce that it has surpassed its target of overseas absentee voting (OAV) registration by almost 50 percent.

The Embassy said there are more or less 260,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Kuwait. To date, they already have registered more than 42,000 overseas voters.

 Actually, ang target natin mula noong December 2016 hanggang 2018 ay 28,834. From that date up to the present, ang registered na is 42,596 so na-reach na natin ang target natin,” said Charge d’ Affair, a.i. Mohd. Noordin P.N. Lomondot.

In 2016, around 49,000 OFWs in Kuwait voted in the presidential elections. Lomondot is confident that the voter’s turn out in the 2019 midterm polls will be higher among OFWs in the Gulf State.

The Embassy is continuously encouraging Filipinos in Kuwait who were not able to vote in the past two consecutive elections to reactivate their registration to be able to join the elections next year.

The last day of the overseas registration is on September 30, 2018.

Overseas registration hits 1.6 million mark – DFA

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs- Overseas Voting Secretariat is confident that before the deadline, the agency will be able to register around 1.9 million potential overseas voters in the upcoming 2019 midterm elections.

As of May 2018, the agency has registered more than 1.6 million Filipino voters in different countries, already surpassing the previous record of 1.376 million absentee voters for to the 2016 Presidential Elections. – Sonny Delos Reyes / Marje Pelayo

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