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Duterte’s Kuwait visit in limbo


By Genalyn Kabiling

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said President Duterte is still studying whether or not to push through with his trip to Kuwait in the wake of his condemnation of the abuses suffered by some Filipino workers in the Gulf state.

Roque admitted they were waiting for the government of Kuwait to bring justice to the victims of abuse in their country.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

“Sa ngayon po, walang kasiguraduhan kung matutuloy pa ang trip to Kuwait [For now, there is no certainty if the trip to Kuwait will push through],” Roque said during a press briefing in Kalinga last Tuesday.

“It is being studied because we are waiting for signs from the government of Kuwait on how to bring justice to our nationals who fell victims to abuses in Kuwait,” Roque added.

“Under international law po, may obligasyon ang Kuwait na bigyan ng katarungan iyong ating mga kababayan [Under the international law, Kuwait has an obligation to bring justice to our countrymen],” he added.

The President earlier disclosed plans to visit Kuwait to check on the plight of the Filipino workers amid reports of some maltreatment at the hands of their employers.

The invitation was extended by Kuwaiti Ambassador the Philippines Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh during a meeting with the President Malacañang last week.

The ambassador reportedly tried to assure the President of the protection of migrant workers in Kuwait.

The invitation, however, has been overtaken by events, particularly the discovery of a dead Filipino worker inside a freezer in an apartment unit in Kuwait that drew the President’s ire.

Just a day after announcing Kuwaiti visit was in the offing, Roque said the President learned about the death of another Filipina and finally decided to decide on a total deployment ban to the Gulf state.

Apart from prohibiting Filipinos to work in Kuwait, the President also offered assistance to those wanting to leave the Gulf state. He has thanked two airline companies for bringing home the distressed workers for free.

In welcoming a batch of repatriated workers who arrived in Manila last Tuesday, the President has pledged to provide subsidy to the displaced workers, saying they won’t have to worry about getting hungry.

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