Philippines' Duterte Says May Expand Ban on Outbound Workers

The Iloilo provincial government also provided additional financial aid to the family of Joanna

Meanwhile, the government of Kuwait granted the request of the Philippines to extend the amnesty program it was offering to overstaying overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the country, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced om Wednesday.

"That includes countries such as Oman and Bahrain because we do not usually hear complaints from Filipinos working there", Roque said.

The move to repatriate citizens from the Gulf state follows the death of several Filipino workers, including 29-year-old Joanna Demafelis, who was found in her employer's freezer last week.

He revealed that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has invited Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte to visit Kuwait next month, pointing out that, "calm has by and large been restored after the uproar created by Duterte's recent remarks".

The latest batch brought to 1,796 the total number of Filipino workers who have asked to be repatriated after availing themselves of an nearly month-long amnesty program declared by the Kuwaiti government.

On the other hand, the NRS Placement Inc. was slapped with a four-month suspension of license.

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"Both Kuwait and the Philippines have an opportunity to work together to increase protections for domestic workers and fix the gaps that are leaving workers vulnerable to extreme abuse". "In the days to come we will be resolving other pending cases", said Olalia.

Bello said the increase in the number of deaths and abuses of OFWs could be attributed to illegal recruitment. The workers have been called the country's heroes because the income they send home has propped up the Southeast Asian nation's economy for decades, accounting for about 10 per cent of its annual gross domestic product.

With the extension, Kuwait's amnesty program will now run until April 22.

Olalia also clarified the cases of the agencies were already pending even before the total deployment of OFWs to Kuwait took effect.

Duterte also slammed Kuwait for not recognizing the Philippines" help during the Gulf War, which erupted when Iraq invaded and annexed the state in the early "90s.

Labour officials are due to conduct negotiations with Kuwait next week with the intention of finalising an agreement to protect the rights of Filipino workers in the country.

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