More than 2,200 Filipinos in Kuwait are ready to accept a repatriation offer from President Rodrigo Duterte following reports of persecution, the Philippine Labor Secretary said on Sunday.
President Duterte has asked Philippine Airlines airlines and Cebu Airlines, Friday (9/2), to fly Filipinos who want to leave Kuwait, after the remains of a Filipino worker were found stored in a refrigerator, in an empty apartment.
"We have received information that until Friday, there were 2,200 more Filipino citizens who are willing to go home, "Labor Minister Silvestre Bello III told Reuters. He said some people have stayed beyond the time limit stated on the visa and have applied for an amnesty.
Both airlines have provided free charter flights. Bello says nearly 500 Filipino workers will be arriving in the near future.
The Philippine government stopped sending workers to Kuwait in January, after reports of several suicide workers for not enduring the persecution by employers. Duterte said on Friday that the cessation of labor shipments was valid for an undetermined time.
Kuwaiti's Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah expressed "surprise and regret" over Duterte's statement, saying it had taken legal action in four killings the self called by President Duterte.
Over 250,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, according to Philippine Foreign Ministry estimates, mostly working as domestic servants. A large number of Filipinos also work in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The government will help returning workers to find work, Bello said. Government plans include seeking labor markets in other countries, including China and Russia. [fw/au]