Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte orders Filipinos back from Kuwait

Reuters file

Reuters file

Duterte, who had earlier suspended deployment of mostly household service workers (HSWs) to Kuwait, moved further for a total ban on hearing more reports of abuse. "I will not keep silent and I will really confront you", he added.

Last month, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to stop the processing of overseas employment certificates for Kuwait-bound OFWs after President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his apprehension on abuses against domestic helpers there.

Ms. Amanda Araneta, president of PHILAAK, said they also support the decision of the Chief Executive to repatriate OFWs in the said country who are in distress situations and want to return home to be with their families.

The President also said how the Philippines has always been ready to protect Kuwait from Iraq and expressed how come the Kuwaiti government is unable to protect OFWs there.

"So everyone who wants to come home, I said to Secretary Bello, those who want to be repatriated, with or without money, I will ask PAL and Cebu Pacific to provide the transportation".

"The Filipino is no slave to anyone, anywhere and everywhere", he said.

Some 300 Filipinos continue to apply for work in Kuwait every day. The latest data from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said there were 86,019 Filipinos in the country in 2015.

"Every unlawful physical injury that is inflicted on an OFW is an injury [that] I personally bear as the head of this Republic", he said.

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"When will this inhuman treatment of these Filipino workers end?" Cynthia Villar said on Saturday.

Duterte appealed to the Arab nations to treat Filipino workers with dignity and respect, "a review of the incidence of violence committed against Filipino workers overseas, especially in Kuwait, is so repugnant".

"So no more dreams of deploying 'super maids" to other countries. "In fact, right now, we're short of skilled workers in the construction [sector]".

"We are advocating for unity among all recruitment agencies and their adherence to a common standard of best and responsible practices throughout the industry", she said. Because of these persistent reports of maltreatment and even death of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, the President announced that the ban on the deployment of OFWs in the Middle East country will remain.

Both PAL and Cebu Pacific said they are in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait and concerned Philippine and foreign government authorities for the necessary requirements.

Angara called on the government to ensure jobs and livelihood assistance for returning OFWs from Kuwait. "Our [countrymen] do not deserve this kind of inhumane treatment", he said.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, meanwhile, urged the Kuwaiti government to sign a Memorandum of Understanding which provides additional protection for Filipino workers in that country.

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