Duterte bans Philippine nationals from working in Kuwait

In this file photo, Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a news conference on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 January 2018
0

Duterte bans Philippine nationals from working in Kuwait

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte has banned Philippine citizens from traveling to Kuwait to work following reports of widespread abuse and exploitation, his spokesman said Saturday.
Duterte ordered the ban after reports emerged about the deaths of several Filipino women in the Gulf state, his spokesman Harry Roque said.
“In line with his presidential pronouncement, Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello has ordered the suspension of the deployment of workers to Kuwait,” Roque told reporters.
“There is really excessive suffering over there,” Roque said, adding that the ban was “long overdue.”
An estimated 10 million Filipinos work overseas and the money they send home is a major pillar of the Philippine economy.
It was not immediately clear how long the ban, which does not affect workers already in Kuwait, would last.
In his speech before overseas workers on Thursday, Duterte said he would urge the Kuwaiti government to act against the abuses.
“My advice is, we talk to them, state the truth and just tell them that it’s not acceptable anymore. Either we impose a total ban or we can have (disagreements),” Duterte said.
“I do not want a quarrel with Kuwait. I respect their leaders, but they have to do something about this,” he added.
Spokesmen for the Kuwaiti embassy in Manila could not be reached for comment.
Kuwait has faced criticism in the past over its “kafala” system for foreign workers which has been likened to a form of bonded labor or even slavery.
The kafala system prevents workers from moving to a new job before their contracts end without their boss’s consent, resulting in a wide range of abuses.
The Gulf state is a major destination for migrant workers with the Kuwaiti government estimating that more than 170,000 Philippine nationals live there. Other groups have far higher estimates.


Pyongyang summit ‘an audacious step’ towards denuclearization, end of Korean War

Updated 29 min 10 sec ago
0

Pyongyang summit ‘an audacious step’ towards denuclearization, end of Korean War

SEOUL: A third summit of Korean leaders planned for next month will be a further step toward denuclearization of the peninsula and a peace treaty to end the Korean War, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to work toward denuclearization at a landmark summit in Singapore with US President Donald Trump in June, but the two countries have since struggled to agree on how to reach that goal.
Advancement in ties between North and South Korea is the “driving force” behind denuclearization, Moon said in a speech, lauding Monday’s pact for next month’s summit in Pyongyang, the North’s capital.
The two leaders will “take an audacious step to proceed toward the declaration of an end to the Korean War and the signing of a peace treaty as well as the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Moon added.
The neighbors remain technically in a state of war since the Korean War of 1950 to 1953 ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.
Moon said he hoped for speedy progress in talks between the US and North Korea, with steps by Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programs matched by “corresponding comprehensive measures” from Washington.
“When the deep-rooted distrust between the two Koreas and between the North and the US is lifted, the mutual agreement can be implemented,” he said on the peninsula’s 73rd anniversary of liberation from Japanese rule, which lasted from 1910 to 1945.
During their first summit in April, Moon and Kim had agreed to push for an end to the Korean War together with the US this year, but Washington has said its focus is on denuclearization, although Trump in Singapore had promised security guarantees for the North.
“When peace is established on the Korean peninsula along with complete denuclearization, economic cooperation can be carried out in earnest,” Moon said.
Plans to build a railway across the peninsula will kick off this year, he added, proposing an East Asian railroad community that groups China, Japan, Mongolia, Russia and the US.
Moon seeks to resume business cooperation with the North, including the railroad and a joint industrial park, but has been cautious because of international sanctions, chiefly spearheaded by Washington, over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.
Moon said he aimed for “unification economic zones” along border provinces when military tension eases and there is lasting peace.
He estimated cross-border economic cooperation could be worth at least 170 trillion won ($149.9 billion) over the next 30 years, citing a study by a state-run think tank.