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Duterte to visit Kuwait after worker row

He imposed departure ban on Filipinos planning to work in Kuwait after the murder of a Filipina maid

Image Credit: AFP
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at an event with the Filipino community during his visit to Hong Kong.
Gulf News

Hong Kong: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday he would visit Kuwait to seal a labour deal, in a sign of easing tensions after a diplomatic row over the alleged mistreatment of Filipino workers in the Gulf state.

Duterte had lashed out at Kuwait in February, imposing a departure ban on Filipinos planning to work there after the murder of a Filipina maid, whose body was found in a freezer.

The Philippine president said on Thursday that Kuwait had agreed to his demands to improve the working conditions for Filipinos, following negotiations between the two countries on an accord.

“To give honour also to the Kuwaiti government, I will go there for the signing (ceremony) just to witness it,” Duterte said in a speech during a visit to Hong Kong.

He did not say when he will travel to Kuwait.

Authorities in Manila say around 252,000 Filipinos work in the Gulf state, many as maids. They are among over two million Filipinos employed in the region, whose remittances are a lifeline to the Philippine economy.

Duterte’s departure ban sparked a diplomatic flap.

One of his demands is that Filipino workers be allowed to keep their cell phones and passports.