Palace cautions public vs. sharing videos that may harm OFWs

MANILA MalacaAang on Tuesday appealed to the public to be responsible in broadcasting and sharing videos that may be harmful to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in all parts of the world.

I call on everyone, including the media, please remember our responsibilities. Sometimes what we broadcast may affect many of our nationals living abroad, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Roque made this statement after viral videos of distressed OFWs in Kuwait being rescued by embassy staff reportedly angered the Kuwaiti government and resulted in a series of diplomatic complaints.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano earlier admitted that the Kuwaiti government questioned the Philippine embassy's rescue action if they were abiding by their laws and if there was an abuse in the diplomatic status.

Roque refused to comment on how the DFA handled the issue saying he would leave it to Cayetano.

Asked if President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself watched the video, Roque said that he did not know but noted that pictures of the President's meeting with Kuwaiti Ambassador Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh in Davao City on Monday did not show any projectors or screens.

The Presidential spokesperson said that it was necessary for the Philippine and Kuwaiti government to strengthen coordination in terms of conducting rescue operations.

Although meron tayong katungkulan na paglingkuran at pangalagaan yung well-being ng ating mga kababayan, dapat yung lahat ng gingagawa natin coursed through local authorities (Although we have the responsibility to serve and protect the well-being of our citizens, we should remember that what we do should be coursed through local authorities), Roque said.

Roque said that he believed that the DFA did the usual coordination with the Kuwaiti government but noted that it was not shown in the videos that went viral.

He, meanwhile, assured that despite the slight misunderstanding between the two countries, the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Philippines and Kuwait will still be signed.

It was not a hindrance to Philippine bilateral relations and will not prevent the [MOU] from being signed, Roque said.

Roque said that the MOU between the Philippines and Kuwait on the protection of OFWs in the Gulf state may be signed after this year's Ramadan.

We still expect the [MOU] providing the minimum terms and conditions of employment for OFWs to be signed soon. As in fact, they're already talking about possible dates and a possible date may be after this year's Ramadan, Roque said.

Source: Philippine News Agency