Duterte meets second batch of repatriated Filipino workers from Kuwait

President Rodrigo Duterte

"That (trip) is still being studied because we are waiting for signs from Kuwait government on how they will provide justice for our countrymen who were victims of abuses in Kuwait", he said.

The suspension of the processing of new employment certificates for Kuwait-bound however was not enough for the President, who wanted to "send a strong message" through a total OFW deployment ban, said Labor Secretary Bello.

The Philippines is mulling sending affected workers to other countries like China and Russia, Bello had said.

The Philippine foreign affairs department said yesterday authorities were repatriating 10,000 overstaying Filipinos from Kuwait, taking advantage of an amnesty programme arranged with the Kuwaiti government.

"Although we are understandably saddened because of the impact on our industry sector, we agree with the decision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to suspend indefinitely the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait and to repatriate OFWs there who are in distress situations and want to return home to be with their families", the Philippine Association of Agencies for Kuwait (PHILAAK) said in a statement, adding that they are coordinating with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). "And you seem to be oblivious about it", Duterte said, addressing the government of Kuwait during a press conference in Davao City last Friday night.

Duterte, who had earlier suspended deployment of mostly household service workers (HSWs) to Kuwait, moved further for a total ban on hearing more reports of abuse.

The ones now being repatriated are those who availed themselves of the amnesty program for overstaying Filipino nationals that the Kuwaiti government approved last month.

"And, of course, if Kuwait fails in this regard, then it will ensure global responsibility for an internationally wrongful act", Roque said. Likewise, Cebu Pacific (CEB) is mounting a special charter flight from Kuwait to Manila for free. These repatriated OFWs will also be providing free food and refreshments, as well as baggage allowance for all passengers on board the flight.

An additional 116 workers arrived Tuesday.

However, those who wish to stay in Kuwait will be allowed to do so. Succeeding flights depart from Kuwait International Airport on Thursday, February 15; Saturday, February 17; and Sunday, February 18, with the same flight schedules.

They said Philippine Airlines flights are still scheduled for every three days.

Bello, meantime, revealed the creation of a task force, led by Usec.

Her remains showed signs of foul play and were found hidden in the freezer for over a year allegedly by her Lebanese employers who left Kuwait in November 2016, authorities said.

Another task force, he said will go to the Middle East on February 20 to check the condition of OFWs there and how the government can be of assistance to them.

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