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‘ALL ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY’

Senate probe urged on PH-Kuwait row

07:25 AM April 30, 2018

Sen. Nancy Binay on Sunday said somebody should be held responsible for the diplomatic row between the Philippines and Kuwait that was now threatening to cost more than 260,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf state their jobs.

Binay said she would file a resolution for an inquiry into the controversy “because we cannot afford something like this [to] happen again.”

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“Somebody needs to be held accountable. We are facing a big problem because 260,000 of our countrymen are still in Kuwait,” Binay said.

‘Extremely reckless’

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Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte’s to recall the OFWs from Kuwait was “extremely reckless, shortsighted and uncaring.”

She also assailed the President’s promise to help OFWs returning from Kuwait find new jobs, noting that he had failed to sign an order ending labor contractualization.

“This is not a game. We are talking about the lives and [the] future of [overseas Filipino workers] and their loved ones,” Hontiveros said.

Still hopeful

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he was hopeful the diplomatic spat would be resolved, but Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said the fallout from the controversy posed risks to OFWs in the Gulf state.

“The Philippine government must stand strong and demand from the Kuwaiti government concrete action to safeguard the fundamental human rights of [Filipinos] in their country,” Gatchalian said.

Sen. Richard Gordon reminded Kuwait that the Philippines was among the first countries to offer assistance to it when it was invaded by Iraq in 1990.

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Gordon, however, said the Philippine government must look for other countries where OFWs could work if Kuwait really had no intention of protecting them.

‘Moronic, not Solomonic’

A migrant sector group described as “moronic” and “not Solomonic” the President’s call to the OFWs in Kuwait to come home.

Referring to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s description of the President’s decision as “Solomonic,” Migrante International said it did “not see any fragment of wisdom” in the President’s move.

“Can the President provide for all the needs of the 260,000 [OFWs and their] families . . . once they return here?” Migrante chair Arman Hernando said in a statement.

The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said the return of 260,000 jobless Filipinos would result in chaos in the Philippines. —Reports from Marlon Ramos, Jerome Aning and Tina G. Santos

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TAGS: abused OFWS, Aquilino Pimentel III, Kuwait-Philippines relations, Migrante International, Nancy Binay, OFWs in Kuwait, rescue of OFWs, Risa Hontiveros, Rodrigo Duterte, Sherwin Gatchalian
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