Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Sunday vowed to citizens in Singapore that he would go at length to bring back overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East including in Kuwait with whom diplomatic ties have become sour over a series mutual accusations and controversies.
“The only sin of Filipino workers in Kuwait or in any other countries is ‘survival’ to earn a living,” Duterte said.
“All of you Filipinos listening, come home to the Philippines. There are many jobs now,” he added.
Duterte in February imposed a temporary ban on the deployment of Filipino workers in Kuwait where there are reportedly over 250,000 of them.
Dutrete temporary imposed the ban following the discovery of a 29-year old Filipina domestic worker in a freeze where she reportedly had been for over one year. She was found in an abandoned apartment of Lebanese-Syrian couple.
Efforts to defuse the diplomatic turmoil through a new labor deal between the two countries were last week foiled after Kuwaiti authorities declared Philippines ambassador persona non grata. The diplomat was involved in controversial rescue operations of abused Filipina domestic workers from their employers.
Upon return from his Singapore trip, the Philippines leader called on the patriotism of his citizen as he urged those working abroad to return home as the country’s economy is expanding.
“Your government will do its best to help you return and resettle,” he said. “I appeal to your sense of patriotism and to your love of country and family.”
He later indicated that Japan and China are willing to take in Filipino workers.