Kuwait blames Philippine president’s call to expel workers

A top Kuwaiti official blamed on Tuesday about a call by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to vacate his country’s workers from Kuwait, suggesting Duterte could possibly damage bond between the two countries.

Duterte told last week that his government would ask private airlines to vacate Filipino nationals from Kuwait within 72 hours, after the finding of dead body of a Filipino migrant worker in a freezer.

Two planes full of workers reached Manila from Kuwait on Monday on flights provided for free by commercial airlines at the president’s request. On Sunday, the Philippine labour minister mentioned that more than 2,200 Filipinos were ready to take up Duterte’s offer.

Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said, “We are surprised and we condemn statements from the Philippine president, especially as we are in contact with the Philippines on a high level to explain the workers’ conditions in Kuwait.”

He spoke at a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a meeting in Kuwait of the global coalition against Islamic State.

“Escalation does not serve the ties between Kuwait and the Philippines,” said Sheikh Sabah, adding that 170,000 Filipinos “live a decent life in Kuwait … but separate accidents unfortunately happen, and we are providing our Filipino counterparts with the results of the investigations.”

The Philippines removed sending workers to Kuwait in January after reports that abuse by employers had driven several to suicide.

 

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