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Duterte Says Ban On Deployment Of Filipino Workers To Kuwait Stays

11 February 2018

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte upholds his decision to continue the suspension of the country's deployment of Filipino workers in Kuwait as the investigation on the death of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who allegedly suffered torture is being conducted.

Speaking in a press conference, Duterte decried the mistreatment of Filipino workers overseas, saying he was ready to take "drastic steps" to preserve their lives.

"The Filipino is no slave to anyone, anywhere, and everywhere", Duterte said. The latest data from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said there were 86,019 Filipinos in the country in 2015.

The Philippines has canceled a $300 million order for 16 Bell 412 EPI helicopters after the Canadian government expressed concern they might be used in President Rodrigo Duterte's highly controversial campaign to kill insurgents.

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"Every unlawful physical injury inflicted on an OFW is an affront against us as a sovereign nation", he said. Cynthia Villar said on Saturday.

'How many Filipino teachers, nurses, and other skilled workers are forced to downgrade their skills and degrade their persons by working as service people, a deodorized term for maids and servants?' he asked. "In fact, right now, we're short of skilled workers in the construction [sector]". In fact, there is a Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) class in welding.

Duterte, who just weeks ago had asked Kuwaitis to treat Filipino workers with "dignity", decried Demafelis' fate, along with that of other Filipino workers mistreated overseas.

"We are advocating for unity among all recruitment agencies and their adherence to a common standard of best and responsible practices throughout the industry", she said.

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It said it is coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait regarding the special flight.

"We support the President's call to continuously ban the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait".

Even the Philippine Association of Accredited Agencies to Kuwait (PHILAAK) backed the President's decision.

The Philippines government has come under more pressure to stop sending domestic workers overseas, with a prominent columnist arguing they should be retrained to fill gaps in professional skills at home.

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Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, meanwhile, urged the Kuwaiti government to sign a Memorandum of Understanding which provides additional protection for Filipino workers in that country.

Duterte Says Ban On Deployment Of Filipino Workers To Kuwait Stays