Duterte: OFW ban could be expanded to other countries

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on February 22 he would extend his ban on sending workers to Kuwait to include other countries if investigations showed Filipinos were being seriously abused by employers elsewhere, Reuters reported.

The country has suspended the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers to the Gulf state since last month after Duterte said the abuse was unchecked and had driven several Filipino domestic helpers there to suicide. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 OFWs voluntarily returned from Kuwait on a suggestion by Duterte, and 1,000 more are said to be desperate to come home.

“We are doing an audit now (to) find out the places where we deploy Filipinos and our countrymen suffer brutal treatment and human degradation,” Duterte said in the central province of Iloilo.

He was visiting the wake of a Filipino whose body was found this month in a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait, with signs of torture.

The killing was the final straw for Duterte, who asked commercial airlines to help the voluntary repatriation of workers from Kuwait. The Philippine Senate began an inquiry on February 21 into deaths and abuse of Filipino workers.

More than two million Filipinos are working in Kuwait and other Middle East countries, including Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, but many cases of abuse have also been reported elsewhere. They often work as domestic helpers, construction workers, engineers and nurses.

Kuwait has sought to mend diplomatic ties by inviting Duterte to visit, according to its state news agency KUNA. The Philippine labour ministry wants Kuwait to be able to assure safety of Filipinos before the ban can be lifted.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on February 22 he would extend his ban on sending workers to Kuwait to include other countries if investigations showed Filipinos were being seriously abused by employers elsewhere, Reuters reported.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on February 22 he would extend his ban on sending workers to Kuwait to include other countries if investigations showed Filipinos were being seriously abused by employers elsewhere, Reuters reported.

The country has suspended the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers to the Gulf state since last month after Duterte said the abuse was unchecked and had driven several Filipino domestic helpers there to suicide. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 OFWs voluntarily returned from Kuwait on a suggestion by Duterte, and 1,000 more are said to be desperate to come home.

“We are doing an audit now (to) find out the places where we deploy Filipinos and our countrymen suffer brutal treatment and human degradation,” Duterte said in the central province of Iloilo.

He was visiting the wake of a Filipino whose body was found this month in a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait, with signs of torture.

The killing was the final straw for Duterte, who asked commercial airlines to help the voluntary repatriation of workers from Kuwait. The Philippine Senate began an inquiry on February 21 into deaths and abuse of Filipino workers.

More than two million Filipinos are working in Kuwait and other Middle East countries, including Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, but many cases of abuse have also been reported elsewhere. They often work as domestic helpers, construction workers, engineers and nurses.

Kuwait has sought to mend diplomatic ties by inviting Duterte to visit, according to its state news agency KUNA. The Philippine labour ministry wants Kuwait to be able to assure safety of Filipinos before the ban can be lifted.

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