Duterte warns of withdrawing all Filipino workers in Kuwait if maltreatment continues
President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Wednesday he will order the recall of all Filipino workers in Kuwait if another incident of suicide due to maltreatment involving them takes place.
In a speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport before leaving for India, Duterte urged the Kuwaitis to treat Filipinos as human beings with dignity.
"I hope I am not committing the diplomatic faux pas. But one more incident about - a woman, a Filipina worker being raped there, committing suicide, I am going to stop, I am going to ban (the deployment of workers). And I'm sorry, the Filipinos there, you can all go home," he said.
He said once all the Filipino workers return to the Philippines, Kuwait "will also be having a hell of a time adjusting to that."
"I won't allow a continuous incident of this like that. They have to endure rape. They have to endure starvation, and they get about only four hours (of sleep) - that's universal story for all Filipinos," Duterte said.
"Can I ask you now just to treat my countrymen as human beings with dignity? I do not want to fight with you. We need your help to improve our country. As a matter of fact, the incomes there of the Filipino contribute a lot to the GDP (gross domestic product) of the country. That is taken. But if ends up with misery, rape and everything, and my countrymen committing suicide, well, there is always a time. We are poor, we may need your help but we will not do it at the expense of the dignity of the Filipino," he stressed.
Saying that Kuwait has been an ally of the Philippines, Duterte called on the Kuwaiti government to do something about it.
Duterte's call was also directed to to all the other countries in the Middle East where many Filipinos have been working.
"We have been sending Filipinos, doctors and others, to help you also and in return, helping us in the very much-needed revenues of their families here. I hope that you’d listen to me because I mean well but I will never, never, never again tolerate. One more incident of rape to the point of committing suicide, jumping out of the window, that is something the Filipino people cannot stomach," he said.
"And if I cannot do something about it, then there is no reason for me to stay in this position a minute longer," Duterte added.
On January 19, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III ordered the suspension of deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait after the deaths of seven workers in the Gulf state.
The seven Pinoy workers who died in Kuwait were Liezl Truz Hukdong, Vanessa Karissha L. Esguerra, Marie Fe Saliling Librada, Arlene Castillo Manzano, Devine Riche Encarnacion, Patrick Sunga, and Mira Luna Juntilla.
All of the identified Filipina migrant workers were household services workers, and most of them were deployed in 2016. Celerina Monte/DMS