Solon seeks probe on diplomatic protocols protecting OFWs

MANILAA lawmaker at the House of Representatives is calling for a congressional inquiry into the diplomatic protocols of concerned government agencies to strengthen the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

In a press conference on Monday, House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs chairman Jesulito Manalo said with over 10 million Filipinos working abroad, it is vital to "maintain the strength of our diplomatic ties with our host countries."

"The world looks up to the Philippines' labor migration policy. We must remain the gold standard for as long as our countrymen are abroad," Manalo said.

House Resolution 1829 directs the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs to clarify the mandates of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to rescue OFWs in light of the diplomatic protests of Kuwait against the Philippines, the arrest of Filipino nationals, and the declaration of the Philippine ambassador as persona non-grata arising from the rescue of distressed Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait.

"In order to effectively protect OFWs, Philippine diplomatic staff should ensure that they, together with the OFWs they protect, adhere to the laws of the country, and entirely avoid a situation where they are declared persona non-grata to the detriment of the OFWs," the resolution read.

"Philippine diplomatic staff involved in the rescue of distressed OFWs must be made aware of the proper limits of their authority, the proper procedure and decorum in conducting such rescues, and the consequences of any breach of said limitations," it added.

Manalo stressed the need to reach a balance between the mandate of Philippine diplomatic missions to protect the interests of Filipinos abroad, especially of distressed OFWs, under an international treaty on diplomatic relations to respect the laws and regulations of receiving states, not interfere in their internal affairs, and to conduct official business through the proper ministries of the receiving states.

The Philippines and Kuwait have recently signed a memorandum of agreement for the protection of Filipino workers and the promotion of their welfare and interests. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency