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Duterte bans Philippines nationals from working in Kuwait

Duterte bans Philippines nationals from working in Kuwait

The ban comes a day after President Rodrigo Duterte claimed abusive employers in the Gulf state had driven four domestic workers to suicide.

Duterte, who is hugely popular among the Filipino diaspora, said on Thursday the Philippines had "lost four women" in Kuwait, referring to domestic helpers he said had been abused and committed suicide.

"In line with his presidential pronouncement, Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello has ordered the suspension of the deployment of workers to Kuwait", Roque told reporters.

He said he was aware of many cases of sexual abuse against Filipino women and wanted to raise it with Kuwait and "state the truth and just tell them that it's not acceptable anymore".

Kuwait's government said it was in touch with Manila over the claims.

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In Administrative Order No. 25, Bello directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to stop the processing and issuance of overseas employment certificates (OECs) to all Kuwait-bound workers pending the investigation of the cause of deaths of the Filipino workers.

Kuwait is ready to discuss conditions of the Filipino community and to follow up on their problems, Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Sulaiman Al-Jarallah said on Sunday.

The Kuwait foreign ministry could not be reached for comment and its embassy in Manila did not respond immediately to questions sent by Reuters about Duterte's remarks.

Noting that such a stance contradicts the nature of the distinctive ties between the two countries and does not serve their common interests, he said the status of the Filipino workers in Kuwait can not be assessed based on individual cases.

Philaak said AO 25 should only cover Filipino household service workers (HSW), who are usually the victims of workplace abuses overseas. There are also large numbers of Filipinos working in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.