Duterte to visit, thank Kuwait for OFW protection deal

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 15 2018 01:54 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte and Kuwait Ambassador to the Philippines Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City. Presidential photo/file

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he will visit Kuwait to thank the Gulf state for signing a deal to protect Filipino workers there.

“All of the things that I demanded were given to us. One day off. They can cook their own food. There will be no confiscation of passports and no physical abuse. And they can practice their own religion. So about seven of them were granted. That’s why I’m going to Kuwait,” Duterte said in a speech at the oathtaking ceremony of newly elected village chiefs in Sta. Rosa Laguna.

“Huwag kayong mag-alala (Don't worry). I will just take the commercial flight. Mag-commercial lang ako just to say 'salamat po' and then I’ll take the next available flight back home. Just to show our gratitude,” he added.

Early this year, Duterte ordered a ban on the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait, following the death of a Filipina found in a freezer in the Gulf state.

The two nations then figured in a diplomatic row over the rescue of distressed Filipino migrant workers by Philippine embassy officials in Kuwait, videos of which spread online.

The rescue, held without the knowledge of local authorities, angered the Kuwaiti government, who took the Philippines' unilateral action as a violation of its sovereignty.

Ties between the two nations improved after inking a deal for the protection of OFWs in the Gulf state last month.

“I thought it was long-drawn. I was believing na pangmatagalan ‘to kasi nagmura ako eh. Talagang masama ang bunganga ko. And yet, the Ambassador went there then there was an impasse. And now we are back,” Duterte said.