By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
SINGAPORE – Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait will be signed in the Philippines rather than in the Gulf State.
Cayetano stated this after the Philippine government apologized to Kuwait for the rescue of OFWs in the Gulf State since April 7. The Kuwaiti governmentfiled a diplomatic protest after the video of what it called an illegal raid that was initiated by the Philippine embassy in the Arab nation went viral on social media.
In an interview with Malacañang reporters in Singapore, the country’s top diplomat said the MOU will now most likely be signed in the Philippines ahead of President Duterte’s visit to Kuwait, if ever the President still decides to push through with his visit.
Cayetano said that despite the issue, the Kuwaiti government is still looking forward to the signing of the MOU.
“In fact, they’re following up on the signing. So we will try to have the signing of the agreement in the Philippines before Ramadan because the time period for the President to prepare will be very short,”Cayetano said Wednesday afternoon.
Even if the signing will now most likely be held in the Philippines, Cayetano said that he would urge the President to still push through with his visit to Kuwait, considering the number of Filipinos there.
Cayetano also pointed out that it would be better if Duterte can talk to Kuwait leaders personally.
“Well, just look at the numbers – 260,000 Filipinos there, 170,000 are in the domestic services. I would still suggest that he goes because ‘yung (the) one-on-one diplomacy with the world leaders is very effective,” he said.
But Cayetano maintained that as long as the document is not signed, the ban on the deployment of new OFWs to Kuwait will not be lifted.