Philippine lawmaker champions OFW rights in Kuwait visit

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KUWAIT CITY, June 18: In an exclusive interview with the Arab Times, Philippine Congressman and Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs Chairman Ron P. Salo (KABAYAN Partylist) shared in-depth insights from his recent visit to Kuwait, focusing on his meeting with Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Fahad Yousuf Saud Al-Sabah.

Left: Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Minister of Interior Sheikh Fahad Yousuf Saud Al-Sabah receives Philippine Congressman and Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs Chairman Ron P. Salo. (MoI photo) Right: Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf with Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Jose Cabrera III and Congressman Salo.

The discussions centered on addressing the concerns and improving the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait. Congressman Salo began by elaborating on the outcomes of his meeting with Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf, highlighting the productive nature of their discussions. Reflecting on his impressions of the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) Shelter, which he visited prior to their meeting, Salo expressed appreciation on the efforts of Kuwait in caring for Filipino workers. He particularly commended the officials and staff at the shelter for their dedication and support towards distressed Filipino runaways and their children.

Regarding the purpose and takeaways from his Kuwait visit, Congressman Salo emphasized the consultative nature of his trip, aimed at understanding the concerns of Filipino migrant workers in the Middle East and ensuring effective government response. He conducted a Town Hall meeting with the Filipino community (FilCom) at the Philippine Embassy Office in Surra, where issues such as the ongoing visa ban against Filipinos and the diplomatic impasse between the Philippines and Kuwait were discussed in detail.

Highlighting the challenges faced by OFWs, Congressman Salo acknowledged the significant impact of the visa ban on Filipinos wanting to work in Kuwait, as well as Filipino nationals engaged in overseas employment and businesses in Kuwait. He mentioned the persistent pleas of OFWs who want to work in Kuwait but are unable to apply for work visas, as well as of OFWs in Kuwait who are unable to go home for fear that they cannot return. He also noted reports of Filipino-owned establishments, particularly restaurants, experiencing closures due to reduced Filipino clientele resulting from the visa restrictions. In response to these challenges, the Philippine government has been actively advocating for measures to enhance the protection

and welfare of migrant workers in Kuwait. Congressman Salo commended Kuwait’s efforts and reiterated the Philippine government’s focus on resolving underlying issues leading to OFWs running away from their employers, such as unpaid salaries, overwork or maltreatment. Congressman Salo also addressed a recent tragic fire in Kuwait that claimed the lives of three Filipino nationals, expressing gratitude for Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf’s condolences and Kuwait’s immediate financial assistance to the victims’ families.

He highlighted Kuwait’s intensified efforts to enforce domestic safety regulations to prevent such incidents, underscoring ongoing measures to ensure the safety and well-being of all Filipinos residing in Kuwait. Looking forward, Congressman Salo emphasized the importance of resumed discussions between the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments. “We are confident that as discussions between the Philippine Government and Kuwait Government resume, measures for greater protection of our migrant workers will be threshed out and adopted,” Salo explained. In conclusion, Congressman Salo conveyed a message of commitment to the Filipino community in Kuwait.

“The Philippine Government and KABAYAN Partylist remain committed to promoting the rights and welfare of our OFWs. We are dedicated to ensuring that their concerns are addressed and that they receive the support they need,” he assured. Congressman Ron Salo’s visit to Kuwait underscores the ongoing efforts to enhance the welfare of OFWs and strengthen bilateral relations between the Philippines and Kuwait. The positive developments from his meeting with Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf, combined with the commitment to addressing the challenges faced by OFWs, highlight the importance of continued collaboration between the two nations.

Rep. Ron P. Salo represents the KABAYAN Partylist in the 17th, 18th, and 19th Congress, serving from 2016 to the present. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of the Philippines – Diliman and later earned his law degree from UP Diliman. He pursued a Masters in International Law at University College London as a British Chevening Scholar, graduating with Merit, and obtained an Executive Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the Development Academy of the Philippines.
During the Arroyo Administration, Rep. Salo served as Undersecretary at the Office of the Executive Secretary. He has taught at UP College of Law and De La Salle College of Law, and currently serves on the Board of Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PhilSCA) and is a former board member of RTU, EARIST and Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
He is also involved with the Chevening Alumni Foundation of the Philippines, Inc., having served as President. Rep. Salo was a finalist for the Professional Achievement Award Category – UK Global Alumni Awards East Asia / Pacific in 2018 and recognized as the Transnational Higher Education Champion at the British Council’s 45th Anniversary in April 2024. He is known for his legislative contributions, including the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, which protects seafarers’ rights, and key bills such as the Department of Migrant Workers Law, Universal Health Care Law and Philippine Salt Industry Development Act. In the 19th Congress, Rep. Salo authored significant bills such as the Philippine Midwifery Act of 2022, Magna Carta of Filipino Migrant Workers, establishment of Kabayan Pension Fund, and legislation on public health workers, mechanical engineering, and workers’ benefits like the 14th Month Pay and Teacher’s Salary Increase.

By Marlon Aquino Malinao
Managing Editor, Arab Times

This news has been read 5154 times!

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