Manila, Feb 14: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has ordered a ban on the overseas deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait after the deaths of several woman, a media report said.
As many as 10,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait are expected to take up the Philippine government’s offer of a free flight home after the body of their compatriot 29-year-old Joanna Demafelis was found stuffed in a freezer, the CNN reported.
Demafelis’ body was found in the freezer of her employers’ home on February 7, where authorities believe it could have been stored for up to one year.
The offer of the free flight home was extended to the 10,000 Filipinos who had overstayed their visa in the Gulf state.
As of Tuesday, 510 Philippine workers had returned on chartered flights, the country’s Overseas Workers Welfare Administration told CNN.
“I will sell my soul to the devil to look for money so that you can come home and live comfortably here,” Duterte said Tuesday.
The Philippines President said last week he was ready to take “drastic steps” to protect Filipinos working abroad.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said at a news conference on Monday that thousands of Filipinos had turned up at the embassy in Kuwait since January 29 to initiate the repatriation process agreed with the Kuwaiti government.
More than 2,200 had received travel documents so far.
“They will return bringing with them virtually nothing but sad stories of how their dreams for a better life for their loved ones got shattered by exploitation and abuse.
“They are the first of hundreds who have heeded the President’s call for them to go home so they could escape further maltreatment abroad,” Philippines Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said on Facebook.