Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he will permanently stop locating workers to Kuwait in between the unsteady diplomatic relations between the two nations.
The firebrand leader also asked Filipinos working as domestic helpers in the Middle East state to come home, and requested the professional workers to do the same.
“Your government will do its best to help you return and resettle,” Duterte said in a speech after arriving home Sunday from a meeting of southeast Asian leaders in Singapore.
“I appeal to your sense of patriotism and to your love of country and family.”
More than 250,000 Philippine citizens work in Kuwait.
Relationship between the Philippines and Kuwait have been shaky since the dead body of Filipina domestic worker Joanna Demafelis was found crammed in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait in February.
Last week, Kuwait ordered Manila’s representative to leave and recalled its own, while detaining several people after an online video of Philippine diplomatic staff helping a Filipino worker flee an employer went viral on social media and reignited tension between two nations, prompting an apology from Duterte’s government.
“Filipino household service workers should come home, and the government plans to immediately bring back about 700 people who are now in temporary shelters”, Duterte said.
While professionals can stay or leave according to their will, Duterte requested on their “patriotism” to return to the Philippines where he said many jobs have become available as the economy expands. China and Japan are keen to take in Philippines workers, he said.
“The Philippines and Kuwait have a shared history that both sides must learn to value,” Duterte said.
“Current developments, however, test our commitment to work together. We must be undeterred in the work of helping our fellow human beings as we pursue our shared interests with due respect for each other’s sovereignty.”
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