Kuwaiti foreign minister condemns Duterte's criticisms

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 14) — A ranking Kuwaiti official on Tuesday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte's statements criticizing alleged maltreatment of Filipino workers in his country.  

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah said, "We actually condemn the statements of the President of the Philippines. We are communicating with the president of the Philippines and the Minister of Foreign Affairs after being read to try and explain the conditions of work of all Philippines workers."

Duterte on Tuesday expressed his dismay over Kuwait's handling of abused Filipinos.

"Anong nagawa ng Pilipinas sa'yo? Nagsisilbi, inaabuso ninyo. Pinagsasasampal ninyo. Alam mo, Kuwait, ang mundo umiikot ha. Minsan 'yan mabilis masyado, baka mag-abot yan ng tinatawag na karma. When that time comes, you will remember us," he said as he welcomed hundreds of repatriated OFWs.

[Translation: What has the Philippines done for you? We serve you, yet you abuse and slap us. You know, the world spins fast. Sometimes, it's too fast, and karma may catch up to you. When that time comes, you will remember us.]

This follows the killing of domestic worker Joanna Demafelis at the hands of her Lebanese employer in Kuwait. Authorities found her body in a freezer in her employer's apartment. The death of seven other Filipino household workers in Kuwait are also under investigation.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello on Monday signed and administrative order that bans the deployment of all workers to Kuwait.

Related: Gov't issues exemptions to ban on Kuwait-bound workers

Al-Sabah said although "accidents happen," the Kuwaiti government is ready to face investigations.

"We are in direct communication. However this escalation will not serve the interests of either Kuwait or the Philippines. The only solution is should cooperate and collaborate on the details of the very sad and unfortunate events that happened only this can help us get to the bottom of it can help increase the cooperation between the two parties and increase the number of foreign entities those working in Kuwait," he said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government is waiting for the Kuwaiti government to discuss the plight of Filipino workers in the Arab country.

He said under international law, the Kuwaiti government is obliged to give justice to the Filipinos abused by their employers.