Philippines to ask airlines to bring Filipinos home after Kuwait deaths

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

"We value our foreign relations with the people of Kuwait but we can not stand idly by as our [countrymen] suffer from inhumane treatment", he said. "I implore you", he added.

"So there is a total ban now of workers to Kuwait".

Some 300 Filipinos continue to apply for work in Kuwait every day.

President Rodrigo Duterte's order, issued in a news conference, came after the Canadian government chose to review the $235 million helicopter deal because of concerns the Philippine military might use the utility helicopters in counterinsurgency assaults.

According to the government records, there are approximately 250,000 Filipinos working in Kuwait, 75 per cent of who are domestic helpers.

The President also said how the Philippines has always been ready to protect Kuwait from Iraq and expressed how come the Kuwaiti government is unable to protect OFWs there.

"What was issued before by the Secretary was just a suspension", added Francia.

The DOLE official said they still have to thresh out other details, specifically on the workers that would be covered by the order.

The remains of Dimapilis were believed to have been stored in the freezer for more than a year.

"We strongly condemn the brutal killing of another Filipina whose body was discovered in a freezer where it may have been kept for over a year". Villanueva said in a statement. "In fact, right now, we're short of skilled workers in the construction [sector]".

"Of course we need the help of Kuwait", Duterte conceded. "We should not wait for another OFW to die for us to act on this", Villanueva said.

"I'm buying helicopters because I want to finish them off", said Duterte, referring to Muslim and communist rebels along with Islamic militants in the country's volatile south.

The Philippine president on Friday ordered the cancellation of a multimillion-dollar deal to buy 16 helicopters from Canada and said purchases of US arms should also be stopped because of too many imposed conditions, although he said he still supports President Donald Trump.

Clad in shorts, a t-shirt and running shoes for a hike with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti on Saturday morning, the two politicians emphasized their countries share much common ground even as they continue disagree on the most contentious issues of the trade pact.

Even the Philippine Association of Accredited Agencies to Kuwait (PHILAAK) backed the President's decision.

"Although we are understandably saddened because of the impact on our industry sector, we agree with the decision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to suspend indefinitely the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait and to repatriate OFWs there who are in distress situations and want to return home to be with their families", PHILAAK said.

The Philippines government has come under more pressure to stop sending domestic workers overseas, with a prominent columnist arguing they should be retrained to fill gaps in professional skills at home. The latest data from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said there were 86,019 Filipinos in the country in 2015. "In fact, the valedictorian of the recent batch is a woman", she said.

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