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Filipinos welcome agreement with Kuwait, optimistic it will help protect workers

‘A test of real friendship between Philippines and Kuwait’

(Top) Genskie Morales, Maricel Mangahas, Marivic Paradero (Above) Mikhaela Urlanda, Jerry Lopez, Sierady Rogando

KUWAIT: Members of the Filipino community voiced their relief for the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the governments of Kuwait and the Philippines on Friday. Filipinos who spoke to Kuwait Times hoped that this agreement would help provide more protection to workers in Kuwait, specifically domestic helpers, and also improve the friendly relations between the two countries.

“Alhamdulillah! This is a very good development for the protection of our workers in Kuwait,” said Marivic Paradero, businesswoman, Tag Cargo. “I was very sad when the ban was imposed. While I was not affected, eventually it will affect my business if it continues. The truth is that when our president announced the ban, Filipinos were calling us to shift their things out. They said they need to shift their stuff out because they were thinking the crisis with Kuwait will get worse. This was the immediate reaction of many Filipinos here. Alhamdulillah, the crisis is over, and our relationship with Kuwait is restored.”

Test of friendship
Mikhaela Urlanda, an employee of Alshaya Company, said that the agreement felt like ‘a taste of victory’ for all Filipinos, and also a ‘test of real friendship’ between the Philippines and Kuwait. “Our friendship was tested with this crisis, but the good thing is that we overcame it,” she said. “With the agreement already in black and white, probably everyone will follow it. Thank God, because Filipinos seeking jobs will be able to get better ones in Kuwait now. I should know, because if Kuwait is bad, why I did I stay here to work for more than 20 years? We are in good hands; in fact, we are thankful to HH the Amir of Kuwait for allowing us to work and in return get the salary we desire. Also, we thank our president Rodrigo Duterte; we feel his real love for his people – for this gesture we are very grateful. Thank you for the love!”

Sierady Rogando, who works as a barista at Costa Coffee, believes that the agreement help his compatriots continue to seek jobs in Kuwait. “This is very good news for all Filipinos. Whether we like it or not, we need jobs. We don’t have many in the Philippines; if we did, probably we wouldn’t be in Kuwait right now,” he argued. “The MoA can now protect each and every one of us, even probably those working in restaurants. Now I think Filipinos can sleep well, because earlier, we were very anxious whether to leave Kuwait or not. I feel the relief! Thanks Kuwait and Philippines for talking and finally setting aside hate. Thank you!”

“Now we are fine,” exclaimed Genskie Morales, a domestic helper in Qortuba. “Thank you President Duterte and Secretary Cayetano for the job well done! I hope this will be followed by everyone. We really need protection and this MoA can help. Thank you Kuwait!”

Workers’ protection
Maricel Mangahas, administrative staff, Vista Land International Marketing Inc, reiterated belief that the agreement will help protect Filipinos working in Kuwait. “I thank God for the agreement signed. I think it is for the benefit of Filipino workers in general,” he said. “I had some heated arguments with my Kuwaiti employer about it; I said my president is just protecting our people – this is his mandate! When I explained, she understood – my boss is really good, but of course when discussing nationalist issues, they are Kuwaitis and will definitely side with the decision of their government. Just like me – I will also side with our president. But there is no problem that cannot be solved if they give peace and talks a chance. Now we are okay, thank God.”

The signing of the agreement will hopefully pave the way for ironing the strained relations between the two countries, according to Jerry Lopez, an engineer at Aramco. “I am delighted the agreement between the two countries has been signed. I hope and pray to God that everything, including Filipinos and Kuwaitis, will be okay. We look forward for normalization of our ties and that our friendship will become stronger,” he stressed. “I have family in Kuwait; we lived there for many years. Although my work is in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait is our second home, so we do not wish any bad thing to happen between us. Thank you Kuwait and the Philippines for the MoA!”

By Ben Garcia

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