MANILA: President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte ordered officials to continue the ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait following the recent discovery of another dead body of a Filipina domestic worker inside a freezer in that oil-rich Gulf state.
Duterte also ordered the repatriation within 72 hours starting on Friday of the estimated 10,000 “undocumented Filipinos” in Kuwait who want to get out of harm’s way.
“We do not intend to offend any government or anyone. But if a ban is what is needed, then let it be so,” Duterte told reporters in an interview in his hometown of Davao City in Mindanao late on Friday night.
The president added he was not seeking “special treatment” from the Kuwaiti government or privileges for OFWs but he insisted that they should be treated with dignity, respect and as human beings.
Last week, Secretary Silvestre Bello of the Department of Labour and Employment reported the discovery of the dead body of Filipina domestic worker Joanna Daniela Dimapilis, 29, of the town of Sara in Iloilo province in the Visayas in Central Philippines.
Bello said the body of Dimapilis was found in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait where she worked for a Lebanese and his Syrian wife who fled the kingdom in 2016 after the husband was accused of faking checks.
“The Minister of Interior of Kuwait has alerted the Interpol (International Police). They have an address in Lebanon. We expect that they will be arrested,” Bello told radio DzBB in an interview.
He added the body of Dimapilis bore torture marks and indications that she was strangled to death amid a report that in 2017, 103 OFWs died in Kuwait, a significant jump from the 83 deaths registered in 2016.
At the same time, Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola of the Department of Foreign Affairs reported that 800 “undocumented” OFWs in Kuwait have signified their intention to be repatriated to the Philippines.
This was based on Duterte’s assurance he would ask the country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines and budget airline Cebu Pacific serving the Middle East to accommodate the OFWs willing to be repatriated from Kuwait.
Citing government statistics, Arriola said a total of 280,000 OFWs are deployed in the oil-rich kingdom, 10,000 of whom were categorised as “overstaying violators.”
Source Credit: The Gulf Today