DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 February) — Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao on Friday night said the death penalty should be imposed by the government of Kuwait on its citizens who abuse Filipino workers as he thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for his resolve to ban deployment of Filipino workers in Kuwait, and hoped “ikaw na lang maging President sa habang kami ay nabubuhay” (you will be President for as long as we live).
“Maraming salamat sa lahat-lahat, Mr. President, sa lahat ng effort mo. Actually, para sa akin — para sa akin ha, ikaw na lang maging Presidente sa habang kami ay nabubuhay kasi gusto man namin ‘yang — gusto naming ganung Pangulo, ‘yung matigas, hindi ‘yung puro salita” (Thank you for everything, Mr. President, for all your efforts. Actually, for me — for me, I hope you will be President for as long as we live because that is what we want — we want a President who is tough, not just talk,” said Pacquiao, world boxing icon and Senator from Sarangani province in Mindanao.
Pacquiao joined the President during a press conference Friday night with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, on the President’s ban to deploy Filipino workers in Kuwait and to repatriate within 72 hours Filipino workers in Kuwait who want to come home.
Pacquiao said “nag-iinit ang ulo ko” (I am angry) with what’s happening to Filipino workers in Kuwait.
“Mr. President, I just want you to know na kung ano man ‘yung mga plano mo para sa ating bansa, all-out support ako at ang aking pamilya (that whatever it is you plan for our ocuntry, I and my family will give you all-out support).
He said he always mentions the President in his advocacies “because of your heart for the Filipino, for this country.”
He said he just recently helped repatriated Filipino workers from Saudi Arabia when they arrived in the country with practically nothing.
Some of the workers bore torture marks, Pacquiao said.
“‘Yung pang-aabuso, dapat… para sa akin, ‘yung mga gumawa nu’n, kung ‘yung government ng Kuwait ay huwag nilang i-tolerate, i-death penalty nila ‘yun kasi ‘yung ‘yung batas nila” (Those who abuse… should not be tolerated by the government of Kuwait. They should impose death penalty on them, because that’s their law), he said.
“I-death penalty nila ‘yung employer na gumawa nun at siguro, masa-satisfy tayo, magkaroon tayo ng kaginhawaan sa puso natin, kaginhawaan ng Kuwait government na i-impose din nila ‘yung batas nila doon sa kanilang mga citizen dahil buhay itong nawala at hindi tayo parang hayop lang na basta lang patayin at apihin” (They should impose the death penalty on the employer who did it, then we will be satisfied, our hearts will be light.. the Kuwait government should impose the death penalty on their citizen because we lost a life, we should not be treated like we are animals that can be easily killed or maltreated), Pacquiao said.
Kuwait carried out seven executions by hanging on January 25, 2017, one of them Filipino household worker Jakatia Pawa for allegeldy killing the 22-year old daughter of her employer in 2007, “a crime she claimed up to the day fo her execution she never committed,” Duterte said.
“Duterte recalled that on the day of Pawa’s execution, a Filipino domestic worker died in a hospital after a severe beating in the hands of her Kuwaiti employer. “I need not go into the specifics of every harm and abuse that our OFWs have been subjected to. They can be discussed some other time and in another forum. But let me ask: when will this inhuman treatment of our Filipino workers end? When will the upliftment of their human dignity begin?” Duterte asked.
Addressing the Kuwaiti government and other countries where Filipino workers are, Duterte said: “we seek and expect your assistance in this regard. We do not seek special treatment or privileges for our workers, but we do expect respect for their dignity and basic human rights. Keep them free from harm. I implore you.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)