Duterte to visit Kuwait in October: labor chief

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

October 5, 2018, 1:36 pm

MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to visit Kuwait this October, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Friday.

"I think he's going there anytime this month," the official told reporters when asked if the President's trip will push through.

President Duterte has repeatedly mentioned his plan to visit the Gulf state to personally thank its officials for signing a memorandum of agreement for the protection of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who was with Bello for an inter-agency meeting at the DFA office in Pasay City, did not say whether the trip will be an official visit or a state visit, but assured that proper announcement will be made soon.

Cayetano said Kuwait Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaked Al-Hamad Al-Sabah himself followed up on Duterte's visit during their bilateral meeting at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly.

"Sinabi niya inaantay na nila at most welcome si Pangulo at kahit sinong Filipino officials na bumisita (He said they are already waiting for him and the President is most welcome and whoever Filipino officials who will visit [Kuwait])," he told the Philippine News Agency.

He added that he had a "very warm" meeting with the Kuwaiti official.

"Sinabi rin niya na as close friends, anything that happened in the past wala na 'yon (He also told me that as close friends, anything that happened in the past, it's all water under the bridge)," he said referring to the past diplomatic fiasco between the two states.

Meanwhile, Bello said a Philippine delegation is set to hold talks with Kuwaiti authorities to finalize an employment contract template for all Filipinos who will work in the Arab State.

"We are sending a delegation this weekend together with Presidential Adviser on OFWs Abdullah Mamao, I think Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque is also coming," he said in Filipino.

"They will be there to finalize the employment contract pursuant to the provision of the memorandum of agreement which we signed," Cayetano added.

The MOA, signed by the officials of both the Philippines and Kuwait in May 2018, assures that Filipino domestic workers are granted with a day off each week, food, health insurance, non-confiscation of passport, use of cellphones and afforded legal assistance. (PNA)