Genuine concern

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A LAWMAKER has credited President Duterte’s “effective diplomacy” in bringing home Pahima ‘Candies’ Alagasi, the Filipina domestic worker scalded by her employer in Saudi Arabia four years ago.

Alagasi was only 22 years old and barely two months on the job when she dropped the lid of a thermos while preparing coffee for her employer. The irate employer seized the thermos and poured all its contents on her as she bent down to pick up the cap.

She filed a case against her employer who filed counter-charges, stalling her repatriation.

When Saudi Prince and Interior Minister Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif visited Manila and paid a courtesy call in Malacanang on March 19, the President took the opportunity to raise Alagasi’s case and the rest is history.

In contrast, the President employed a different kind of diplomacy to promote the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers maltreated in Kuwait by banning the deployment of our workers there. He demanded an agreement to ensure Kuwait respects and protects OFWs, or else the ban stays.

The strategy has paid off. Malacanang announced that the President is set to go to Kuwait to oversee the signing of an agreement between the Gulf state and the Philippines for OFW protection.

Indeed, effective diplomacy was employed in both instances. But it was only a means to an end. What provided the real impetus for these welcome developments was the President’s sincerity to help our OFWs.

This isn’t the usual lip-service from public officials we have grown accustomed to in the previous years. This is genuine concern.

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