MANILA (Reuters) – Critics accused President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday of gambling with the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Filipinos in Kuwait, after he asked them to come home amid a diplomatic dispute over reported labour abuse.
The Philippines and the Gulf Arab state are embroiled in a row over what Mr Duterte says is a pattern of mistreatment of domestic workers by Kuwaiti employers.
The Philippine ambassador has been asked to leave following attempts by embassy workers to “rescue” distressed workers there, which Kuwait says is a breach of its sovereignty.
Mr Duterte at the weekend appealed to the “sense of patriotism” of overseas Filipino workers, known as OFW, and asked them to return home, where he said they would get financial aid and job opportunities in other countries.
Critics said Mr Duterte had no way of guaranteeing that and should not ask those whose income was vital to their families back home to quit their jobs.