Dubai: There will be no more deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday (April 29).
“The ban stays permanently. There will be no more recruitment (of OFWs for Kuwait),” Duterte told reporters at the international airport in Davao, Philippine.
Duterte said he will ask other countries, including China, to consider recruiting more Filipinos in order to accommodate those who are looking to work overseas.
Last February, the country’s Department of Labour and Employment (Dole) issued an order to enforce a ban on Filipinos heading to Kuwait for work, following a directive from Duterte. The move was in response to a series of incidents that led to the deaths and injuries of a number of OFWs in the Gulf state.
Tensions between the two countries had inflamed recently following the circulation of videos of Philippine Embassy staff members attempting to help Filipino household workers flee from their employers’ homes. Ambassador Renato Villa was asked to leave Kuwait last week.
According to labour watchdog Migrante International, Filipino expatriates can’t just abandon their jobs in Kuwait if there is no assurance that they can find similar employment opportunities in their home country or elsewhere.
“We cannot expect our OFWs to come home if the root cause of their migration – poverty due to landlessness and lack of decent jobs still exists and is actually worsening,” Migrante said in a statement posted on its website on Sunday.
“Mr president, until and unless you stop exporting them continually and your promise of a better Philippines, a country where there are regular, decent and living jobs for all able-bodied Filipinos, is fulfilled, they will be forced to search for greener pasture in foreign lands, even if it is in Kuwait.”
Talking to reporters in Davao, Duterte said he can’t force every Filipino in Kuwait to leave, but “at the same time, I would like them to cherish and nurture their patriotism.”
“For Filipino household service workers, if your Kuwaiti employers want you to leave, then please come home. Your government will do its best to help your return,” the president was quoted by media reports as saying.