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DFA, DOLE to privately discuss rescue video fiasco with senators

/ 07:16 PM May 23, 2018

Senator Joel Villanueva. PHOTO FROM JOEL VILLANUEVA FACEBOOK PAGE

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) will have closed-door discussion of protocols for rescuing distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Sen. Joel Villanueva said on Wednesday at a Senate hearing on the welfare of OFWs.

According to Villanueva, discussion will also touch on the uploading of controversial “rescue mission” videos that angered the Kuwait, leading to a diplomatic standoff.

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The hearing was conducted by the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, which Villanueva chairs.

Villanueva commended the DFA and the Dole for their efforts in assisting distressed migrant workers.

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But he pressed officials of the two agencies for answers to “objectively discuss” the protocols.

“Was it right to videotape the rescue and to upload it?” he said in Filipino. “Who was responsible for that? What are the protcols?”

Special envoy to Kuwait Abdullah Mama-o, stressing that the matter was sensitive, suggested an executive session.

“The two countries actually had forgotten everything,” Mama-o said.

The viral video of the rescue mission conducted by Philippine Embassy staff in Kuwait sparked diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa was expelled and three other diplomats were detained.

“We don’t wanna talk about this publicly… because of its implications on the MOU [memorandum of understanding],” Villanueva told reporters after the hearing.

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The DFA maintained its silence on the matter while the MOU on the protection of domestic workers was being negotiated.

So far, the DFA has not publicized details of its internal investigation on the controversial video.

Villanueva said he would find out in the session who was responsible and who would be held accountable for the welfare of OFWs. /atm

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TAGS: Joel Villanueva, Kuwait-Philippines relations, OFWs in Kuwait, rescue of OFWs
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