MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday said he would visit Kuwait ‘anytime’ soon to witness the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would protect the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf state.
“I’m going to Kuwait maybe for the signing,” Duterte announced while addressing over 2,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong.
Duterte said the Kuwaiti government had agreed on his demands before lifting the deployment of the OFWs in Kuwait.
“I have made so many demands before we sign the contract and in fairness to the Kuwait government, they agreed,” the President said.
“I think that to give honor also to the Kuwaiti government, I will go there for the signing just to witness it,” he added.
The demands that Duterte wanted to be included in the MOU were the non-confiscation of passports and that the OFWs particularly domestic workers should be allowed to use cellphones.
Duterte has also demanded that the OFWs be guaranteed seven hours of sleep and be allowed to cook their own food.
He also asked that employers should allow Filipino workers to take rest days and holidays.
“If those are complied, I said, ‘well, there would always be exception.’ But fundamentally, if it is written into the contract, I would insist that they would honor every word for it. So that is okay for me and any time, I will go there,” Duterte said.
Last month, Duterte ordered the ban on the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait due the killing of Joana Demafelis, whose body was found in a freezer, and other abuses and maltreatment being experienced by other OFWs in the Arab state.
There are at least 250,000 Filipinos working in Kuwait, according to government data. (PNA)
By Jelly Musico