Duterte stops workers going to Kuwait over abuse, mistreatment
Seven Filipino workers died in mysterious circumstances. "Situation no longer acceptable". There are over 250,000 Filipinos in Kuwait, the majority of whom are employed in service industry. Over 2.3 million Filipinos are registered as foreign workers. They send more than 1.6 billion euros home every month.
Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Philippine government is suspending the sending of workers to Kuwait, after President Rodrigo Duterte said that abuses by employers have prompted several domestic workers to commit suicide. Kuwait is surprised by the decision and says it will maintain contact with Manila to try to solve the problem.
Labor secretary Silvestre Belo says that no further overseas Filipino workers (OFW) will be sent to Kuwait, "pending investigation of the causes of deaths of about six or seven of our OFWs". Last January 19, the Department of Labor and Employment identified seven Filipino workers who died in Kuwait. The authorities report that they were all domestic workers and most of them resided in the Middle East since 2016.
According to estimates by the Manila Foreign Ministry, there are over 250,000 Filipinos in Kuwait, the majority of whom are employed in the domestic service industry.
On January 18, Duterte declared that the Philippines "lost four women" in Kuwait, referring to domestic workers who committed suicide as a result of mistreatment. The president claimed to be aware of many cases of sexual abuse against Filipino women and wanted to raise the issue with Kuwait and " state the truth and just tell them that it's not acceptable anymore".
The deputy foreign minister of Kuwait, Khaled al-Jarallah, expressed "surprise and sorrow" for Duterte's observations, stating that judicial proceedings were initiated in the cases of the four domestic workers mentioned by the president. Jarallah declares that there are more than 170,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait, all protected by laws that safeguard them from abuse.
Over 2.3 million Filipinos are registered as overseas workers. They send more than 1.6 billion euros home every month, money that feeds one of the fastest growing economies in the world.