Showing of video of OFW rescue in Kuwait hit
The viral rescue videos of distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait was “unfortunate and completely unnecessary,” as this puts their lives at risk, a migrant workers party-list lawmaker said on Monday
The videos showed rapid response teams bringing distressed OFWs to waiting vehicles so the workers could be brought to the embassy shelter for safety reasons, ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto “John” Bertiz III said in a statement.
“We should discourage this as a practice because it puts the lives of the distressed OFWs and even rescuers at risk while exposing our embassy to sanctions by the host government. The privacy of the distressed OFW should also be respected, especially in instances where human trafficking and sexual violence may be involved,” he added.
But Bertiz also expressed “full support” for beleaguered Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa, whom he said was probably not aware of the recording and uploading videos of their so-called “rescue missions.”
“We view our strategic relations with Kuwait as critically important considering the number of Filipino workers remaining there and the long history of friendship between the two countries. Nevertheless, we also need to show our support to Ambassador Villa considering his track record in looking after the welfare of our OFWs,” he said.
Villa received protest notes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait due to alleged “inflammatory remarks” he made to a local newspaper and for “inappropriate behavior” of certain Philippine diplomatic staff in rescuing distressed domestic workers from their employers’ households.
Considering the 5,000 remaining OFWs who lacked proper documents and the more than a hundred thousand legal workers in Kuwait, Bertiz said there is a need to approach this new diplomatic challenge with “utmost sobriety.”
“The Philippine ambassador had said that the embassy always coordinates its actions with the Kuwait interior ministry when handling requests for assistance from distressed Filipino domestic workers,” he added.
Given the latest development involving the Philippine embassy, the congressman said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should postpone President Rodrigo Duterte’s planned visit in Kuwait until the issues raised by its government be resolved.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had initially disclosed the possibility of a presidential state visit before or after the month of Ramadhan.
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