FILIPINO workers in Kuwait who want to go home may be repatriated within the next 72 hours, President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday, February 9.
The President said he would request flag carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific to send the migrant workers home within 72 hours.
"So everyone who wants to come home, I said to Secretary Bello, those who want to be repatriated, with or without money, I will ask PAL and Cebu Pacific to provide the transportation. I want them out of the country those who want to go out in 72 hours," the President said, referring to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
"We will count our lives by the hours because apparently, every hour, there is a suffering and agony, brutality committed by Filipinos," the President said.
The President, in a press conference in his home province Davao City, made the decision to repatriate the migrant workers in Kuwait shortly after he pleaded to Kuwait to stop the abuses and inhumane treatment of Filipinos.
Duterte was reacting to the discovery of the body of Filipino domestic worker Joanna Daniela Dimapilis in a freezer inside an abandoned apartment in Kuwait. The remains of Dimapilis were believed to have been stored there for more than a year.
Duterte said he could not stomach the persistent abuses that have pushed some Filipino migrant workers in Kuwait to commit suicide.
To date, there are more than 250,000 Filipinos in Kuwait.
Duterte confirmed the ban on deployment of workers to the Gulf state Friday.
"Every abuse committed against an OFW is an affront against us as a sovereign nation. Do not give us back a bothered worker or a mutilated corpse," he said.
"We do not intend to offend any government or anyone, but if ban is what is needed, then let it be so. The ban continues today and I don't know until what time. I declared it early this morning. Son of a b****, I cannot stomach this. It is totally, totally unacceptable to me," he added. (Ruth Abbey Gita/SunStar Philippines)