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Nationwide Round-Up (03/14/18)

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Filipina workers returning home from Kuwait arrive at Manila International Airport on February 18, 2018. — AFP

PHL, Kuwait resume talks on overseas Filipino workers

THE GOVERNMENTS of Kuwait and the Philippines are set to resume talks this week on the welfare of Filipino domestic helpers in the Gulf state.

“We are looking forward to the conclusion of this bilateral agreement that we hope will be a model document in terms of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure the safety and well-being of our household service workers in Kuwait,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said in a statement on Monday evening, March 12.

The Secretary likewise said, “(T)he Philippines was earlier able to secure the commitment of Kuwait on several matters, including the minimum monthly salary of KD120.00; rest hours of at least eight hours per day; possession of their passports and mobile phones; and limiting their work to only one household.” Other measures that Mr. Cayetano said he would want to see in the agreement — before the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employments would recommend the lifting of the comprehensive deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait — are “the direct payment of salaries to the bank account of Filipino domestic workers whenever feasible and a mechanism that would allow them to file their complaints directly with Kuwaiti authorities.” — Arjay L. Balinbin

List of barangay officials with alleged drug links could be out before poll

THE GOVERNMENT is considering making public the names of barangay officials with alleged links to drug trafficking prior to the conduct of the barangay elections, Malacañang said.

“The President and the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) have asked [the public] to reject any barangay officials who are involved in drugs. So, that possibility is very strong,” Presidential Spokesperson Herminio Harry L. Roque, Jr. told reporters on Tuesday, March 13. DILG Undersecretary Martin B. Diño has recently announced that around   9,000 barangay captains are on President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s “narco-list.” Last Monday, March 12, the House of Representatives had voted to again postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, scheduled for May 14 this year. The new proposed schedule is the second Monday of October this year. The postponement will also have to be approved by the Senate. Mr. Roque said the President, who has previously endorsed the postponement citing the close ties between drug money and village elections, is leaving it up to Congress to make the decision. — Arjay L. Balinbin

Youth chair Seguerra resigns

Cariza “Aiza” Seguerra

MALACAÑANG confirmed on Tuesday that the Office of the Executive Secretary has received the resignation of Cariza “Aiza” Y. Seguerra as chairperson of the National Youth Commission (NYC).

President Rodrigo R. Duterte appointed Mr. Seguerra in August 2016 for a three-year term. His wife, Mary Liza B. Diño, was also appointed as chairperson of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

In a Facebook post, Mr. Seguerra said he met with the President “on March 5 to tender his resignation.” However, he did not give the specific reason for quitting the post. “I coordinated with his (Mr. Duterte’s) office because I wanted to personally tell him my reason. Knowing how social media can exaggerate or twist the truth, I wanted to make sure that he’s going to hear it from me. He was very understanding and supportive of my decision… I told him how much I valued his trust and how this experience made me appreciate public service and our public servants,” he said. As a parting word, Mr. Seguerra wrote this message to the youth: “In this very divisive society, I hope you will lead the country in finding commonalities that will bring us all together. Be kind, always.” — Arjay L. Balinbin