MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday threatened to withdraw all Filipinos working in Kuwait if another Philippine worker in the Gulf state dies.
Duterte has lamented the cases of deaths of Filipinos working in Kuwait, some of whom he said were raped and ended up committing suicide.
“One more incident about a woman, a Filipina being raped there, I’m going to stop, I’m going to ban,” Duterte said.
“I’m sorry. The Filipinos there, you can all go home. Tutal kapag umalis kayong mga Filipino they will also be having a hell of a time adjusting there,” he said in a speech before leaving for his trip to India, where he is set to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-India Commemorative Summit and India’s Republic Day celebration.
Manila on Saturday suspended the deployment of workers to Kuwait following the deaths of seven migrant workers there.
Duterte said he does not want a quarrel with Kuwait, but he issued an appeal to the Gulf state and other Arab nations, which host a large number of Filipino workers, among them skilled and domestic workers, to ensure that OFWs there are treated humanely.
“Can I just ask you now to treat my countrymen as human beings with dignity? I don’t want to fight with you. We need your help,” Duterte said.
“Wala tayong ano d'yan. Nakakatulong kayo, pero if it ends up with misery, rape, and my countrymen committing suicide… We are poor, we may need your help but we will not do it at the expense of the dignity of the Filipino.”
“Kuwait has always been an ally. But please do something [about] it,” the President said.
Duterte enjoys strong support from overseas Filipinos, winning in the overseas absentee voting in the 2016 polls.
He said if he cannot do something about the problems of migrant Filipinos in Kuwait, “then there is no reason for me to stay in this position a minute longer.”
Kuwait is home to about 600,000 domestic helpers, mostly Asian. In January last year, Filipino migrant worker Jakatia Pawa was executed in Kuwait for allegedly killing her employer’s 22-year-old daughter.