Sunday, May 6, 2018

Hontiveros: Duterte asking Kuwait OFWs to come home is reckless

Senator Risa Hontiveros responded to President Rodrigo Duterte’s appeal to over 260,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait to come home, saying it is reckless for there is no assurance of jobs in the Philippines for them.
Senator Risa Hontiveros and President Rodrigo Duterte / Photo from The Economists Journal

It is extremely reckless, shortsighted and uncaring. President Duterte should stop gambling with the lives and employment of thousands of OFWs, and the welfare of their families, in a desperate attempt to break the diplomatic impasse with Kuwait. This is not a game. We are talking about the lives and future of our OFWs and their loved ones,” Hontiveros said.

After the Philippine ambassador launched rescue missions for abused OFWs in Kuwait and was consequentially expelled, Duterte made a call to the OFWs to come home.

Before all this, Duterte also ordered the repatriation of the OFWs from Kuwait where they were maltreated. There are allegedly thousands of undocumented workers illegally staying in the Gulf State.
Senator Risa Hontiveros / Photo from RMN

Duterte had initially suspended the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait but has now made permanent.

Hontiveros commented on the issue of Duterte asking the 260,000 workers to come home, saying that it was ironic because the president did not issue an executive order to protect the workers in the country.

Are we even talking about the same Philippines? President Duterte is promising our OFWs jobs back in our country when he can’t even sign an Executive Order (EO) to address labor contractualization and protect the workers’ security of tenure. His administration doesn’t even have an alternative economic strategy to the country’s labor export policy,” said Hontiveros.

The President however said that he cannot ban contractualization because it was allowed by the Labor Code and only the congress could amend the law.
Senator Risa Hontiveros / Photo from Inquirer

Hontiveros sad that the Senate Bill 271 or the Security of Tenure Bill is the answer to protect the workers from bad working conditions and contractualization of workers.

Like any Filipino, I dream of the day that our kababayan will not go abroad just to earn a decent living. I want them to come home and end the Filipino diaspora. But I want them to return to a Philippines where regular and decent jobs abound, where their children can pursue their dreams and where peace not death reigns in our communities. Sadly, this is not the Philippines under President Duterte,” she said.

She added that the President should think again about his decision and meet with other relevant people.

I appeal to the President to think this through. This is not the time for cavalier diplomacy. I urge him to conduct extensive foreign policy and labor dialogues and consultations with his Cabinet, the Legislature, foreign affairs experts, labor groups and other stakeholders to find a truly diplomatic and sustainable solution to this crisis,” Hontiveros said.

Source: Inquirer

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