President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday brushed off the idea of enforcing a total deployment ban on overseas Filipino workers in Kuwait.
Marcos expressed his reservations about imposing a ban of such magnitude in a media interview following the 125th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Navy in Manila after he was asked about his reaction to the proposal.
“Are we going to impose a ban? Personally, I am never very comfortable with outright bans because it implies a permanent restriction that cannot be lifted,” Marcos said.
He acknowledged the challenges faced by Filipino workers when Kuwait imposed a ban on granting new visas, leading to a disagreement between the two countries over alleged violations of Kuwaiti rules.
“We have been at odds because they claim we have violated their rules, but we haven’t seen any evidence to support their allegations. That’s the situation we find ourselves in,” Marcos explained.
Despite the difficulties, he emphasized the importance of not burning bridges and leaving room for future possibilities.
“I don’t want to take the route of overreaction, where we simply impose bans without considering the consequences. It’s not the right approach,” Marcos said.
Instead, he advocated for a pragmatic response that acknowledges the Kuwaiti government’s decision to halt the issuance of new visas. He recognized that it is beyond the Philippines’ control and emphasized the need to maintain open channels for negotiation.
“We have to accept the reality that it’s their country, and those are their rules. We will keep the issue open and continue to engage in discussions with them,” Marcos said.
He expressed hope that through ongoing consultation and dialogue, the situation could evolve positively in the future.
President Marcos also highlighted the plight of approximately 800 workers who were unable to travel to Kuwait due to the recent ban.
He reiterated his commitment to working toward a resolution, saying, “We will strive to improve the situation and, if possible, resume the deployment of our workers to Kuwait, especially those who were affected by this sudden ban.”
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