By Roy Mabasa
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte is slated to visit Kuwait next month to witness the signing of an agreement that will promote the welfare and interest of overseas Filipino workers in that country.
“We are preparing for the trip. April is too tight so the earliest is May,” Cayetano said in a television interview.
The DFA chief said the Philippines sought to include in the agreement provisions on the non-confiscation of passports, fair and good labor conditions, and the provision of rest day for the OFWs.
Cayetano emphasized that the President had made it clear that he would not witness the signing or allow the signing without these provisions.
Last February, the Philippine government announced a “total ban” on new deployment of OFWs to Kuwait following reports of abuses and exploitation against Filipino workers, especially those in the household workers category.
Additionally, the Philippine government asked Kuwait to hasten the repatriation of about 1,000 Filipinos stranded in shelters, for some 200 more to be rescued from their employers, and for the Kuwaiti government to act on specific cases of abuse.
“This time is for Kuwait to show its goodwill and to help us implement all these,” the DFA chief said.
There are over 250,000 OFWs presently working in Kuwait. , many of them as household workers.