Duterte to exhaust gov't resources, willing to "sell soul to devil" to aid repatriated OFWs from Kuwait
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday he was willing to exhaust government resources and even to "sell his soul to the devil" to provide assistance to the overseas Filipino workers who would heed his call to return to the country and avoid further abuses from employers in Kuwait.
In a speech during the mass oath taking of newly-appointed government officials, Duterte said the government has resources, which could be used to "subsidize" the OFWs who would be repatriated.
"We will subsidize them. I'm willing to sell my soul to the devil to find money for OFWs returning from Kuwait. Come home," he said.
Duterte has ordered a total deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait after deaths of several female OFWs who were allegedly maltreated, the latest of whom was a Filipina who was found dead and preserved in a freezer for about a year.
He has asked Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific to help the government in repatriating the Filipinos in Kuwait who would want to come home.
In a press briefing in Kalinga province, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the OFWs from Kuwait who want to be repatriated would be provided immediate financial assistance of P5,000 and for their livelihood, amounting to P20,000.
But he said the government is looking for new foreign destinations, which are signatories to the International Labor Organization Convention recognizing rights of migrant workers, such as Oman and Bahrain, which have no recorded abuses of Filipinos.
Roque also said Duterte's plan to visit Kuwait was not sure anymore.
"That's being studied because what we're waiting is the go-signal from the Kuwaiti government how to serve justice for our people who became victims of these heinous incidents in Kuwait. Under the international law, Kuwait has the obligation to serve justice for our people," he said.
Duterte is set to welcome on Tuesday night at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport OFWs repatriated from Kuwait. Celerina Monte/DMS