Malacañang: Duterte yet to sign lifting of Kuwait OFW deployment ban

Pia Ranada
Malacañang: Duterte yet to sign lifting of Kuwait OFW deployment ban
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque says he has yet to see a signed written order on the lifting of the ban

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to sign the order to lift the ban on Filipino migrant workers’ deployment to Kuwait. 

“That’s true. During the state dinner, he gave Secretary Bello (Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III) the authority to lift the ban but until now, I have not yet received a written order coming from Bello so we will follow up the written order,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday, May 23.

In a message to Rappler, Roque said that “neither PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) nor Bello” has signed the order.

“I’m sure it’s forthcoming,” he added.

Roque’s statement comes after confusion brought about by Duterte’s speech on Tuesday, May 22, in which he said he will not sign the order to completely lift the ban until the Kuwait government guarantees that his conditions on overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) welfare are met.

“We’re okay with Kuwait. My conditions were met but they must be guaranteed before I sign the lifting of the ban,” said Duterte during the Philippine Navy anniversary.

It was Roque who told reporters that Duterte had ordered the lifting of the OFW deployment ban.

The order was given after the Philippines and Kuwait signed on May 11 a memorandum of agreement (MOA) providing additional protection for OFWs in the Gulf state. The occasion was witnessed by Roque and Bello.

The MOA was signed amid a diplomatic crisis between the two countries after the Kuwaiti government was angered by an OFW rescue mission ordered by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs that appeared to not have been coordinated with Kuwait police. 

The incident led Kuwait to expel Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at