Duterte orders repatriation of Filipino household workers in Kuwait
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered on Friday the Department of Labor and Employment to repatriate Filipinos in Kuwait who want to go home within 72 hours.
Duterte said he directed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to bring home "everyone who wants to come home."
"I want them repatriated in 72 hours," he said, adding the repatriation would cover household workers.
Duterte expressed his anger and disappointment to Kuwait after the remains of a Filipino household worker was found inside a freezer.
"Every abuse committed against an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) is an affront against us, as a sovereign nation. [All that] I ask [for] our overseas Filipino workers, is that their dignity is honored and the rights of a human being, upheld and respected," Duterte said Friday night in Davao City as he showed photos of a Filipino household helper who was physically abused.
He said what has been happening to OFWs was "totally unacceptable."
The Philippine government has decided to suspend the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait last month after Duterte made an order following the death of seven Filipinos in December and January.
Duterte said the ban will continue especially after it was confirmed that the woman found in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait was a Filipino, identified as Joanna Daniela Dimapilis.
"The ban continues today and I don’t know up to what time," he said.
Duterte said Filipinos only go to abroad, including in Kuwait, to work.
"We did not fail you. How come my countrymen are now suffering brutality, cruelty, and death? And you seem to be oblivious about it...what are you doing to my countrymen? And if I were to do it to your citizens here, would you be happy?," he said.
Duterte had a closed door meeting on Thursday with Kuwaiti Ambassador to the Philippines Saleh Ahmad Althwaik.
He said his plan to go to Kuwait remains as he wants to seek for the protection of the Filipinos in the Gulf state.
Bello, in the same press conference, said for the Philippines to lift the suspension in the deployment of OFWs in Kuwait, the Kuwaiti government should sign the memorandum of understanding that has been pending with them for the last three years.
The MOU provides for additional protection for OFWs in Kuwait, he added. Celerina Monte/DMS