KUWAIT: The National Assembly is expected to debate a report on the situation of Filipino workers in Kuwait, especially domestic helpers, in the wake of a serious diplomatic spat with the Philippines. The Assembly’s foreign relations panel met yesterday and completed a report on the Filipino workers, which will be submitted to the Assembly for a floor discussion tomorrow, MP Mohammad Al-Huwailah said.

Last month the Assembly discussed the diplomatic row with the Philippines and asked the foreign relations committee to discuss the issue and prepare a report to be debated on March 6. The committee met Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah, who briefed them on the diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions between the two countries. Jarallah had said the Philippine president was invited to visit the country and expected the visit to take place in the first half of March. Manila has not confirmed the visit.

The row came after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte strongly lashed out at Kuwait and other Gulf countries for the alleged mistreatment of Filipina domestic helpers following reports of deaths and abuse. Manila then slapped a total ban on sending workers to Kuwait. Kuwait has criticized the way the Philippine authorities have handled the issue and called for a diplomatic solution to the standoff, insisting that all cases of alleged abuse are being handled by the law.

MP Huwailah said the Kuwaiti position is clear because it is based on the law and the constitution. The Philippines sent its labor minister and senior officials to Kuwait to discuss the issue and try to hammer out a new labor agreement to regulate the employment of their nationals in the country.

Meanwhile, MP Riyadh Al-Adasani said yesterday he will file to grill State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Adel Al-Khorafi today. Adasani provided no details on the reasons of the grilling but added that everything will be explained in the grilling. Last month, Adasani threatened to grill new minister Khorafi for allegedly providing lawmakers with false information in response to a question.

Separately, the court of cassation yesterday deferred the National Assembly storming case until March 11. The court last week freed all jailed opposition activists and MPs who were handed harsh sentences for storming the Assembly building in late 2011.

By B Izzak