Duterte to visit April 30; Filipino remit­tances fall

Kuwait Times - - Front Page - By A Saleh and Agen­cies

KUWAIT: The Philip­pines Em­bassy in Kuwait yes­ter­day no­ti­fied the Kuwaiti gov­ern­ment that Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte will visit Kuwait on April 30 - be­fore Ra­madan. Am­bas­sador Renato Villa met for­eign min­istry of­fi­cials yes­ter­day morn­ing to in­form them of the date of the visit, not­ing that the date will not be con­firmed un­til the Amiri Di­wan ap­proves it in accordance with HH the Amir’s sched­uled obli­ga­tions.

Mean­while, the re­cent Kuwait-Philip­pines la­bor cri­sis has led to a 13.3 per­cent drop in remit­tances by Filipinos over the two past months - to $105.9 mil­lion. No­tably, the Philip­pines econ­omy largely de­pends on remit­tances at a time when the Philip­pines cur­rency - the peso reached its low­est level, ac­cord­ing to the Ja­panese Nikkei news­pa­per.

The gov­ern­ment of Philip­pines im­posed a ban on send­ing work­ers to Kuwait fol­low­ing the mur­der of 29-year-old Joanna De­mafe­lis, who went miss­ing in Sept 2016. Her body was found in a freezer ear­lier this year, bear­ing signs of tor­ture. Last week Duterte said Kuwait had agreed to his de­mands to im­prove the work­ing con­di­tions of Filipinos, fol­low­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the two coun­tries on a la­bor ac­cord. One of his key de­mands is that Filipino work­ers be al­lowed to keep their mo­bile phones and pass­ports - which can be con­fis­cated by em­ploy­ers under cur­rent con­di­tions.

Philip­pines La­bor Sec­re­tary Sil­vestre Bello said the mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing will be signed be­fore Ra­madan, with Kuwait to im­prove the con­di­tions of Filipino work­ers in Kuwait. Around 10 mil­lion Filipinos live and work abroad, in­clud­ing 250,000 in Kuwait.

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