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Malacañang ‘disturbed’ by Kuwait’s expulsion of PH Envoy

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

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

 

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has admitted that Malacañang is perplexed over the recent decision of the government of Kuwait to expel Philippine envoy Ambassador Renato Pedro Villa and declared him “persona non grata.”

The decision came after Philippine Embassy staff rescued some distressed Filipino workers in Kuwait which the latter claimed as “undiplomatic.”

“We would like to reiterate the statement of the secretary of foreign affairs that the palace is disturbed by the recent developments involving the recall of our ambassador to Kuwait Ambassador villa,” the Secretary said.

Roque said prior to the controversy, the administration was confident that everything was settled after President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with Kuwaiti Ambassador to the Philippines Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh.

Despite the tension, Malacañang still hopes that the agreement between the two countries will be signed to ensure the protection and welfare of Filipino workers in Kuwait.

Also, Roque said the Palace remains positive that the relationship between the two countries will get back to normal in due time.

We hope that this is Kuwait’s way of expressing its anger for which SFA Allan Cayetano had already apologized. We believed and hope that the passage of time will heal all wounds and will lead to normalize ties,” Roque said.

While the Philippines’ top diplomat in Kuwait is directed to return to the country within the week, Roque hopes that the International Humanitarian Law will protect OFWs in Kuwait. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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Repatriation underway for 1,470 displaced OFWs in Al Khobar

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

 

Saudi flag

More than 1,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia have been displaced after they were locked out by their employer, Azmeel Contracting Corporation.

Labor Secretary Bello III, Overseas Workers Welfare Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac and several officials from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Health(DOH) already flew to Al Khobar to help in the repatriation of the affected OFWs.

“Makikipag-usap ako sa minister of labor ng Saudi Arabia para sa pagpapauwi ng ating mga OFW at hilingin ang tulong ng pamahalaan ng Saudi para sa paghahanap ng trabaho sa ibang lugar, gayundin ang tulong-legal para sa mga monetary claims ng mga manggagawa mula sa kanilang employer,” said Bello.

Based on the report received by OWWA, Azmeel Contracting Corporation excluded its employees from their place of work after the Saudi government froze its assets.

Before the lockout incident, the employer failed to pay the workers’ four months wages, which led the workers to protest.

The government has sent an initial US$50,000 financial aid to the affected OFWs. — Yssa Jalmasco

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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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