Philippines stops sending OFWs to Kuwait after abuse, suicide cases

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Relations between the Philippines and Kuwait soured after the government in Manila enacted a ban on sending Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to the wealthy, oil-rich Middle Eastern country, effective January 19.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said alleged abuse by employers in Kuwait had driven several domestic helpers to suicide and no more workers will be allowed to go there for the time being, pending investigation into the causes of deaths of the OFWs, all of them household services workers, with most of them deployed in 2016.

Duterte said the Philippines had “lost four women” in Kuwait, referring to domestic helpers he said had been allegedly abused by their employers and committed suicide thereafter. He said he was aware of many cases of sexual abuse against Filipino women and wanted to raise it with Kuwait and “state the truth and just tell them that it’s not acceptable anymore.”

Earlier in January, concerns were raised when the remains of a Filipino woman who allegedly killed herself in Kuwait were returned to her hometown. Her family said the body showed signs of abuse and that the woman’s organs were missing..

The Philippine foreign ministry estimates that more than 250,000 Filipinos are working in Kuwait, most as domestic helpers.  However, the Kuwait government puts the number of Filipinos in Kuwait at just over 170,000.

Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al Jarallah expressed “surprise and sorrow” over Duterte’s remarks, saying that legal proceedings had been taken in the cases of the four domestic workers mentioned by the president.

“We have begun immediate contacts with Filipino authorities to examine the extent of this statement and to try to refute the erroneous information that came in it,” state news agency KUNA quoted him as saying.

He added that Filipino workers in Kuwait were all protected by laws from abuse and argued that he four cases mentioned in Duterte’s statement “cannot be used as a criterion to assess the overall status of the Philippines’ workers in the country.”

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Relations between the Philippines and Kuwait soured after the government in Manila enacted a ban on sending Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to the wealthy, oil-rich Middle Eastern country, effective January 19.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Relations between the Philippines and Kuwait soured after the government in Manila enacted a ban on sending Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to the wealthy, oil-rich Middle Eastern country, effective January 19.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said alleged abuse by employers in Kuwait had driven several domestic helpers to suicide and no more workers will be allowed to go there for the time being, pending investigation into the causes of deaths of the OFWs, all of them household services workers, with most of them deployed in 2016.

Duterte said the Philippines had “lost four women” in Kuwait, referring to domestic helpers he said had been allegedly abused by their employers and committed suicide thereafter. He said he was aware of many cases of sexual abuse against Filipino women and wanted to raise it with Kuwait and “state the truth and just tell them that it’s not acceptable anymore.”

Earlier in January, concerns were raised when the remains of a Filipino woman who allegedly killed herself in Kuwait were returned to her hometown. Her family said the body showed signs of abuse and that the woman’s organs were missing..

The Philippine foreign ministry estimates that more than 250,000 Filipinos are working in Kuwait, most as domestic helpers.  However, the Kuwait government puts the number of Filipinos in Kuwait at just over 170,000.

Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al Jarallah expressed “surprise and sorrow” over Duterte’s remarks, saying that legal proceedings had been taken in the cases of the four domestic workers mentioned by the president.

“We have begun immediate contacts with Filipino authorities to examine the extent of this statement and to try to refute the erroneous information that came in it,” state news agency KUNA quoted him as saying.

He added that Filipino workers in Kuwait were all protected by laws from abuse and argued that he four cases mentioned in Duterte’s statement “cannot be used as a criterion to assess the overall status of the Philippines’ workers in the country.”

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