DMW says no need to ‘burn bridges’ despite Kuwait visa issue

By Stephanie Sevillano

May 26, 2023, 8:36 pm

MANILA — The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Friday supported the decision of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to reject a total deployment ban to Kuwait.

In a virtual press conference, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said there is no need to burn bridges despite Kuwait's suspension of the issuance of visas to Philippine passport holders.

"I think in time, there will be a mutual understanding on the way forward," she said.

"Tama si president (The President is right), let’s not burn bridges. Kailangan lang dagdagan ang pagunawa (We just need to widen our understanding). It’s their decision, we respect their decision," Ople added.

The decision to suspend visas to Philippine passport holders was made following the alleged rejection of Manila to Kuwait's request for the former to recognize "violations" of the Philippine embassy.

"Their conditions, they want us to acknowledge the violations, they want us to close down the shelters," Ople said in mixed English and Filipino.

"They are talking about violations done by the Philippine government through our embassies. We wanted sana (hopefully) to talk about protective measures for our vulnerable workers, yun yung pagkakaiba (that's the difference)," she said.

Ople, however, said that the country is ready to continue its recruitment and deployment once both countries agree on protective measures for Filipinos.

She also said that the situation may change in seasons moving forward, hence the need to maintain the administration's stance on foreign policy.

For now, the DMW assured assistance to affected workers following the decision of Kuwait.

"Yung mga gustong maghanap ng trabaho sa ibang bansa (For those who wanted to apply for jobs in other countries), we will gladly help them and guide them para di sila maging biktima ng (so they will not be victims of) illegal recruitment and human traffickers," Ople said.

To date, there are over 200,000 Filipinos living and working in households and companies in Kuwait. (PNA)