By Arjay L. Balinbin
WITH the Kuwaiti government’s approval of the conditions he set for his visit, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said he will soon fly to the Gulf state “to witness” the signing of the agreement on the protection of Filipinos who work there.
Mr. Duterte made the announcement during his meeting with the Filipino community in Hong Kong on Thursday evening.
“I will go to Kuwait to witness the signing [of the agreement]. In fairness to the Kuwaiti government, they agreed to my conditions,” he said.
In his speech at the graduation ceremonies of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) on March 21 in Cavite, the President said that the contract between the Philippines and Kuwait “should include some mandatory provisions like they should be allowed to sleep at least seven hours a day, that they will be fed nutritious food, that there will be no confiscation of passports by the employers, that they will be allowed to go on holidays, and absolutely no physical abuse.”
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said he expects the formal signing of the agreement to take place within the month of April.
BusinessWorld reported last February that the Kuwaiti government had invited the President to visit as both countries “seek to settle their differences over allegations of extreme abuse of migrant workers” there.
For his part, Mr. Duterte said he “will only visit Kuwait if the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) can assure the implementation of his conditions on the protection of Filipinos” in the Gulf state.