DFA firm with keeping shelter in Kuwait open

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 15) — The government is keeping the shelters for distressed Filipino workers in Kuwait open in the wake of news that the establishment of the emergency centers was the reason behind the suspension of visa issuance.

“We would like to say that we do not intend to close the shelter,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said the Laging Handa briefing.

“It is mandated by law that the Philippines is obligated to open shelters and centers kung saan maraming [where there’s many] Filipino,” he added

De Vega said shelters provided by the Philippine embassy protect distressed Filipinos, not to encourage them to run away from their employers.

The shelters currently house 466 distressed overseas Filipino workers.

He said government representatives are en route to Kuwait Monday evening to discuss the suspension of the issuance of new entry and work visas, including the reason behind it.

RELATED: PH to send officials to Kuwait to discuss visa issuance suspension 

“Another issue is meron tayong shelter pero congested na, kaya meron tayong 166 na dinala muna sa hotel, pero sabi ng Kuwait bawal yan,” De Vega said.

[Translation: Another issue is that we have a shelter that is congested, so we brought 166 Filipinos to a hotel, but Kuwait said it's not allowed.]

So, 'yun daw ang maaring violation na tinutukoy nila kaya ang ginawa natin. Over the weekend, ay binalik sila sa shelter,” he added.

[Translation: So, that may be the violation they are referring to that we committed. Over the weekend, we brought them back to the shelter.]

Citing the Department of Migrant Workers, De Vega said 3,000 workers may be affected by the visa suspension.