No indication MOA with Kuwait will not be signed: Palace

MANILA MalacaAang said Thursday there is no indication that the memorandum of agreement (MOA) protecting Filipinos in Kuwait will not be signed despite the Gulf state's move to expel Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa over the issue on domestic workers.

There's no indication that it will not be signed, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

Roque said Kuwait's decision to expel Villa was really a grave expression of displeasure but they did not say that no MOA will be signed.

So until there is no such words, we suppose and assume that it (MOA) will push through, he added.

He said it was all systems go for the MOA signing before Kuwait expelled Villa in protest of the Philippine embassy staff's efforts to help Filipino workers flee from their alleged abusive employers in the Arab nation.

Like the Department of Foreign Affairs, Roque said MalacaAang is equally disturbed by the expulsion of the Filipino envoy.

Roque said he thought all kinks had been ironed out after Duterte met with Kuwaiti Ambassador to the Philippines Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh on April 23 and after Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano issued an apology the next day to the Kuwaiti government.

We hope that this development will not lead to a further worsening of bilateral ties between the two countries, Roque said.

We hope that this is Kuwait's way of just expressing its anger for which SFA Alan Cayetano had already apologized, and we believe and hope that the passage of time will heal all wounds and will lead to normalize ties, he added.

He said Cayetano has summoned the Kuwaiti envoy to seek clarification on Villa's expulsion.

Despite the problem in Kuwait, Roque said the President has assured that protecting the Filipino people, including more than 11 million OFWs throughout the world, is just one of the government's top priorities.

I think the Kuwaiti government understands that our President is just protecting our countrymen working in Kuwait. As I've said yesterday, we recognize the sovereignty of Kuwait, Roque explained.

The bottom line is, the President must stand for the welfare of our workers and that is non-negotiable, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency