President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he will ask China to accept overseas Filipino workers a few days after he threatened to ban hundreds of thousands of Filipinas from working as maids in the Middle East due to alleged abuse.
“I would like to address myself to all nations taking in Filipino as workers. All I ask is that you treat them decently,” Duterte said in a press conference upon his arrival from India.
“The complaint is that they’re fed with leftovers and they are only allowed. Kaya nagsu-suicide eh,” he added.
The president then said he will ask China to “open its doors” for Filipino migrant workers, adding that Beijing is in need of teachers and domestic helpers.
“We are ready to suffer. They come home. China is opening its doors, they are not really as bad as the others for they are Asians,” Duterte said.
“I said to them (China) that if you can consider the Philippines, we would be glad to allow our workers to work here,” he added.
The labor department last week barred Filipinos from seeking work in Kuwait over reports of widespread abuse.
Before leaving for New Delhi on Wednesday, Duterte warned: “One more incident about a woman, a Filipina worker being raped there, committing suicide, I’m going to stop — I’m going to ban” Filipinos working.
“Let me be blunt about this because Kuwait has always been an ally. But please do something about it and for the other countries of the Middle East,” he added.
Over two million Filipinos, many of them maids, are employed in Gulf States, helping to prop up the Philippine economy with billions of dollars in salary remittances to their families each year.
In the same news conference on Friday, Duterte said he is willing to cut ties with countries where OFW abuses are rampant
“If it means a reduced income, it will redound to a less GDP, then so be it,” he remarked.
“And as a worker of government, as one who also decides whether we go there or not. I will not hesitate to lose your friendship, not at the expense of the Filipino. Do not do it,” he added.
“All other Presidents have remained silent or never really bothered to take the cudgels because one, they are afraid to lose your friendship and of course, the money that would bring in.”