Philippines Bars Citizens From Working in Kuwait, Citing Abuses

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Duterte also said the government would examine other markets for OFWs - citing China and Japan as examples of markets that are opening up to Filipino workers - but that his administration is already increasing efforts to attract foreign business to the Philippines in a bid to create more jobs locally. Around 8,000 or 80 percent of them are domestic workers.

Silvestre Bello III told Reuters the number was as of Friday after Duterte broadcast graphic photos of the body of a Filipino maid found in a freezer in an abandoned Kuwait apartment.

Her remains showed signs of foul play and were found hidden in the freezer for over a year allegedly by her Lebanese employers who left Kuwait in November 2016, authorities said.

"With the advent of the series of reports involving abuses and deaths of overseas Filipino workers in Kuwait, a total ban on deployment of all overseas workers ... is hereby enforced", Mr Bello said, reading an order.

Filipina migrant workers protest in Hong Kong.

MANILA - (UPDATE, 8:52 A.M.) President Rodrigo Duterte ordered at the weekend the extension of the deployment ban on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait, and leading carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific announced plans to mount special flights to help bring home OFWs wishing to return after suffering abuse.

The ones now being repatriated are those who availed themselves of the amnesty program for overstaying Filipino nationals that the Kuwaiti government approved last month. "We will also go after illegal recruiters, human traffickers and other modern-day slave traders who continue to victimise our people".

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"A communication was sent to our welfare officers in Kuwait, and there was a follow-up email on March 17, 2017, and what happened thereafter is that our welfare officers ascertained the existence of the Kuwaiti agency", Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator Hans Cacdac told CNN Philippines' News Night on Monday.

"The Embassy and POLO in Kuwait expect that more than 10,000 Filipinos who have overstayed their visas are qualified for repatriation", Arriola said.

To date, some 2,229 Filipinos have been issued travel documents, and 1,754 of them have been granted immigration clearances.

Aside from shouldering the cost of the airfare, the Philippine government shall also settle the immigration penalties of overstaying Filipinos.

Earlier, Roque said: "Those who opt for repatriation from Kuwait will be given P5,000 financial assistance and a further P20,000 assistance for alternative livelihood". He called on Kuwait to provide legal redress to Filipino victims of what he called "horrendous crimes".

They said Philippine Airlines flights are still scheduled for every three days.

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