President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday promised to help Filipinos with visa problems in Russia as Manila works out a labor agreement to legitimize their stay in the country.
In a meeting with the Filipino community in Moscow, Duterte said the Department of Labor and Employment is already working to ensure that Filipinos with visa problems would be covered by a bilateral labor agreement.
"Secretary (Silvestre) Bello is working on an agreement na kayong nandito staying, overstaying or have had problems, there will be... they will be covered with an understanding para bigyan kayo ng maluwag na ano," Duterte said in his speech.
(Secretary Bello is working on an agreement to have overstaying Filipinos or those that had problems to be covered by an understanding.)
In the same event, Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta confirmed that efforts are underway for a bilateral labor agreement following a meeting between President Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sorreta earlier revealed that most Filipinos who work in Russia as nanies or household workers do not have visas since there are only about 100 visas available to Filipinos for household service employment.
He estimated the Filipino population in Russia to be about 10,000 already.
Duterte, meanwhile, appealed to Filipinos in Moscow to abide by Russia's laws so as not to "jeopardize" the Philippines' ties with the country.
"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.
(My only prayer is for you to just abide by the laws of Russia. Just follow the law and we won't have a problem. So all 10,000 of you, we have no record of wrongdoings.)
"Obey the laws. Follow the procedure. Tutal, we are working on a -- sort of a agreement na mabigyan kayo ng maluwang na -- you'd be allowed to stay," he said.