By Genalyn D. Kabiling
Relations between the Philippines and Kuwait are expected to normalize as soon as an agreement on the protection of Filipino workers in the Gulf state is sealed, Malacañang said yesterday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque maintained that President Duterte gives primary consideration to the welfare and safety of overseas Filipinos workers over “economic gains.”
“The status right now is the deployment ban (to Kuwait) remains,” Roque said. “We are hopeful that while negotiations are ongoing for a bilateral agreement that will protect the rights of migrant workers of Kuwait, that ties will normalize when this agreement is finally agreed upon by both countries,” he added.
Roque made the remarks ahead of Duterte’s visit to the wake in Sara, Iloilo of Joanna Demafelis, an OFW who was found dead in a freezer in Kuwait.
The President has refused to send more Filipino workers to Kuwait in condemnation of the abuses committed against some of them. He has also pleaded Kuwaiti authorities to improve the protection of migrant workers in their country.