The Kuwaiti government assured that the “release” of the three Filipino diplomats facing kidnapping charges are “now being worked out,” presidential spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said Thursday evening, May 10.
In a statement, Mr. Roque further said the diplomats were expected to be released in two- to three days.
“The Philippine delegation also met with Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister H.E. (His Excellency) Al-Khaled Sulaiman Al-Jarallah, who assured the visiting Filipino officials that the release of the three Filipino diplomats are now being worked out with the Interior Ministry,” he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier mentioned that three diplomats were issued warrants of arrest in Kuwait last April. DFA Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano also disclosed that the diplomats faced kidnapping charges following the Embassy’s rescue operations on distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). While an arrest order had been issued by the Kuwaiti government, the diplomats remained inside the Philippine embassy.
Mr. Roque added that the Kuwaiti government also allowed the repatriation of over 500 undocumented OFWs at its expense.
The presidential spokesperson is currently in Kuwait along with Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, former Labor Secretary Marianito Roque, Labor Attache Rustico dela Fuente, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuwait Mohd Noordin Lomondot.
He said the memorandum of agreement (MoA) between the Philippines and Kuwait on OFWs’ protection was expected to be signed on Friday, May 11.
The Philippine delegation also met with top officials of the Kuwaiti government to discuss the welfare of OFWs residing in the Persian Gulf State.
During the meetings, Kuwait’s Labor Minister Hind Sabeeh Barrak Al-Sabeeh disclosed the Kuwaiti government’s plan to formulate a model employment contract for all foreign domestic workers in line with the country’s goal to be known as a “center for humanitarian concerns.”
“Under the model contract, workers would enjoy the following: one day off, a 12-hour sleep or rest period, protection from physical abuse, and the right to a decent meal,” Mr. Roque said
The Labor Minister also informed the Philippine delegation that the jurisdiction over household domestic workers were also transferred in her department from the Ministry of Interior. This meant that household domestic workers in Kuwait are now subject “to the same terms and conditions offered to skilled and semi-skilled workers.”
Messrs. Roque and Bello also met with a member of the Al-Sabah family, who asked the presidential spokesperson to deliver a personal message to President Rodrigo R. Duterte. — Camille A. Aguinaldo