During his visit in Singapore on Saturday, President Rodrigo Duterte appealed to 260,000 Filipinos working in Kuwait to go back to the Philippines.
In a speech before the Filipino community, Duterte called for the OFWs sense of patriotism to drive them back to the country where he claimed more job opportunities await them.
“I now appeal to your sense of patriotism. Come home. Tutal marami nang trabaho sa Pilipinas.”
Duterte’s appeal was made after tensions between the Philippines and Kuwait sparked when he ordered rescue operations of distressed Overseas Filipino Workers in Kuwait which angered the Kuwaiti government.
As Kuwait had expelled Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa which Duterte administration considered as inconsistent, this is the first time Duterte had addressed the issue.
Aside from encouraging OFWs to go home, Duterte also expressed his plan in pulling out OFWs in the Gulf State, particularly the domestic helpers who receive poor treatment that he firmly believed his countrymen do not deserve.
“Ang sabihin ko na lang sa kanila, and I plead na may total ban na sa deployment. Ayaw ko na silang papuntahin because apparently parang ayaw ninyo ang Pilipino.”
“Just help us. I will look for money at kukunin ko lahat, lahat ng trabahanteng Pilipinong nasa… bahala na mag-utang ako kung anong gawin ko.”
After pulling out the Filipinos from Kuwait, it is then that Duterte intends to resume negotiations with their government.
Meanwhile, DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano claimed that there are still on going talks with Kuwait but emphasizes that their move on rescuing distressed OFW from Kuwait is one way to exercise the duty of the Philippine government to protect its people working abroad.
On the other hand, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III was surprised that they had expelled Villa after the Philippines had rescued its distressed workers which the Kuwaiti government viewed as a violation of their law.
As of press time, the decision of Duterte remains firm in banning deployment of OFWs to work in Kuwait to protect his countrymen from abuses, violations, maltreatment and mysterious deaths.