DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 29 April) — President Duterte’s he deployment ban to Kuwait, issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 9 stays permanently and urged the Filipino workers there to return home as the relationship between two countries soured over the alleged illegal rescue operations of abused Filipinos workers.
“The ban stays permanently. There will be no more recruitment for — especially domestic helpers,” Duterte said in a press conference at the Davao International Airport upon his arrival from Singapore in the early hours of unday.
The video footage allegedly released by Department of Foreign Affairs that went viral on social media showed the rescue operation of an abused OFW in Kuwait. However, it did not sit well with Kuwaiti government, which led to the expulsion of Philippine ambassador Renato Villa and the recall of its own ambassador from the country.
Duterte said he will respect decision of Filipino professionals if they wish to stay and even the choice of the household service workers whose employers don’t want them to leave but “I appeal to your sense of patriotism and to your love of country and family.”
The President assured OFWs of help from the government to facilitate their return and resettlement upon their return here.
“Come home. Maski gaano tayo kahirap, mabubuhay tayo (No matter how poor we are, we can live),” he said.
He added the country, which is enjoying a good economic performance, may run short of workers because all of them have left for the Middle East.
“All I ask is that the employers treat the Filipinos with the humanity they deserve. Please do not abuse Filipino workers,” he said, noting the government here will do its part to protect the Filipino workers and uphold their rights.
He said Philippines once helped Kuwait during a crisis that broke out in the Middle East but added the current developments involving abuses against Filipino workers test the commitment of the two nations to work together.
Duterte maintained they must be undeterredin helping their fellow human beings as they pursue their shared interests with due respect for each other’s sovereignty.
The President said he has no grudge against the Kuwaiti people and its government and is grateful for the help they gave to the OFWs to earn a better income for their families back home and to send their children to school.
“Yun namang panahon na naghirap sila, the first Bush and second Bush fighting in the Middle East. We were there for Kuwait also. So it evens up everything,” he said.
He added that at least 700 OFWs are holed up in temporary shelters and vowed to get all the distressed OFWs home using the country’s resources.
“I do not begrudge maybe it’s really the culture but simply, hindi ko na rin matanggap. You know I would ra — Sabi nga ni JV Ejercito, I think he was the one who made the comment that he’d rather see Filipinos coming, going out, being forced out, or taken out forcibly rather than see them coming home in a casket,” he added.
On the night of February 9 when Duterte declared the ban on deployment to Kuwait, Foreign Affairs undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said of 262,000 OFWs in Kuwait, 170,000 are household workers. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)