(Eagle News) – President Rodrigo Duterte said that the Department of Labor and Employment is now working on a bilateral agreement with Russia to address the concerns of the many undocumented Filipinos in that country.
There are around 10,000 Filipinos in Russia, most of them undocumented, according to Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta.
Duterte said he raised the problems of the many overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who lacked documentation with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his bilateral meeting with him.
Putin, he said, agreed that there should be a legal framework in the labor relations between the two countries.
They (Russians) would be willing to make an arrangement,” he said.
The Russian government, he said, also made an assurance that it will not carry out a crackdown on illegal immigrants considering the hardships being experienced by Filipinos back home.
“(Labor) Secretary (Silvestre) Bello III is working on an agreement na kayong nandito staying — overstaying or have had problems, there will be — they will be covered with an understanding,” the President told Filipinos in Russia in his meeting with them on Oct. 5, the last day of his five-day visit there.
During his speech to the Filipino community in Russia, President Duterte also expressed his gratitude to President Putin for taking care and securing the welfare of the Filipino population there.
“I would like to thank President Putin and the Russian government and the people of Russia for being so nice at hindi kayo pinahirapan,” he said.
-Working visa for Filipinos –
Duterte said that they are finding a way to legitimize the stay of many undocumented Filipinos in Russia.
“The most important thing really to remember is that we are working with the blessings of President Putin and of course with the — maybe the parliament here. We’re working on a working visa or something to legitimize your stay,” he said.
“All that I ask is that you obey the laws. Do not do anything that would place the relationship of the two countries in jeopardy,” he stressed.
–Duterte appeals to Filipinos in Russia: Obey the laws-
Duterte advised the Filipinos in Russia to renew their passports and reapply for a legal status in Russia to legitimize their stay.
He also told Filipinos there to stay away from trouble as Russia has very strict laws.
“Ang aking prayer lang is just abide by the laws of Russia. Sumunod lang kayo sa batas at wala tayong problema. So kayo lahat dito 10,000, wala tayong record ng kalokohan o ano,” he said.
“I’m pleading … do not do anything that will jeopardize the relation at maging masama ang tingin nila sa atin. Obey the laws. Follow the procedure.”
Duterte said that Russia regards the Philippines with respect and so Filipinos there should not destroy that respect, he said.