By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte intends to visit Kuwait “out to gratitude” for granting his demands on the increased protection of Filipino workers in the Gulf State.
The President said he was “happy” with the agreement forged between the Philippines and Kuwait that provides better working conditions for Filipino migrant workers.
“I am happy. I am going to travel to Kuwait to thank them kasi they practically gave in to my demands,” he said during the oath-taking ceremony of newly-elected barangay captains from Central Luzon in Clark, Pampanga last Tuesday.
Among the President’s demands granted by Kuwait were “no body contact,” allowing Filipino workers to have a day off a week, hold their passports and cellphones, and cook their own food.
“I got all that I wanted. So out of gratitude, magpasalamat lang ako doon [I will express my thanks there]. After all, they’re also human beings, I found out,” Duterte said.
Duterte admitted that he unleashed harsh rhetoric about the situation in Kuwait but its government just let him be. He recently extended his apology to Kuwait for the harsh language he used when he denounced the abuses endured by Filipino workers in the oil-rich Arab nation.
“I was a bit harsh, very harsh during the early days at pinalagpas lang nila ‘yung mga mura ko [they let me get away with my curses] so I will go there,” he said.
Duterte did not say when his visit to Kuwait will take place.
The labor protection pact was forged following the President’s condemnation of the string of abuses committed against Filipino workers by some employers in Kuwait.
The discovery of a slain Filipina worker’s body in a freezer in an abandoned apartment prompted the President to prohibit sending Filipinos to work in Kuwait last February.
The deployment ban has so far been lifted after the labor protection agreement was signed last May.