MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has said the ban on the overseas deployment of Filipinos may also be imposed on other countries after his administration halted sending Filipino workers to Kuwait over reported abuses.
“The ban will continue and it will extend to other countries. Mahirapan sila... Well, humihingi na ako ng tawad sa inyo. I will not allow… Hindi… Wala akong kaplano na ipadala kayo doon tapos babuyin kayo. Hindi ko style ‘yan,” Duterte said in a speech Monday.
Duterte did not disclose the countries where he is planning the imposition of a deployment ban. In a press briefing Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he has no idea which countries the President was referring to.
Duterte recently ordered a deployment ban to Kuwait after the death of several overseas Filipino workers in the Gulf state, including Joanna Demafelis, whose body was recently found inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment there.
In his speech, Duterte reiterated that “the Filipino is a slave of nobody.”
“The Filipino seeks to work abroad to earn a living so that he can help his family because the economy here, local, cannot absorb the entire workforce who would want to [work],” he said.
The President also appealed to other countries hosting Filipino workers to ensure that they are treated humanely.
“The only thing… that we ask is that you give us the dignity of a human being, you treat us humanely, be tolerant of our cultural differences and do not abuse our women because it will inflict a long and lasting wound. Maybe this generation cannot and will not forget it,” Duterte said.
“That is why, I’m addressing myself, not only to Kuwait but to the entire nations in the world to say that Filipinos are everywhere seeking livelihood, can I please plead to you? Please do not degrade them like animals, do not treat them as a slave," said the President.
Reported abuses of Filipino workers in Kuwait have also prompted the government to repatriate Filipinos from the Gulf state who would like to come home.
There are an estimated 10 million Filipinos overseas, many of whom work as household service workers.