Duterte meets second batch of repatriated Filipino workers from Kuwait

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while addressing Filipino Overseas Workers who were repatriated from Kuwait, on Feb. 13, 2018 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in suburban Pasay city southeast of Manila, Philippines. (AP)
Updated 13 February 2018

Duterte meets second batch of repatriated Filipino workers from Kuwait

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte personally welcomed 116 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been repatriated from Kuwait.

In his speech at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Duterte told his audience not to lose hope and that his administration would assist them and provide them with employment opportunities.

“We are here to see to it that every Filipino is treated decently,” he said.

On Monday, the Philippines banned its citizens from traveling to work in Kuwait and began to repatriate the thousands of Filipinos already employed there. The first batch of more than 300 repatriated OFWs arrived in Manila on Monday.

The ban was sparked by Duterte’s anger over the treatment of Joanna Demafelis, a domestic worker whose body was found last week inside a freezer in an apartment in Kuwait that had been abandoned by her Lebanese employer in 2016.

Duterte said the government is willing to give land to those interested in farming it, adding that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also runs a livelihood program for returning OFWs.

The president said he could assure Filipino workers that the government has the necessary resources to look after them on their return home, and underscored that the decision and the urgency with which it was implemented were for the protection of OFWs.

Duterte also said the government would examine other markets for OFWs — citing China and Japan as examples of markets that are opening up to Filipino workers — but that his administration is already increasing efforts to attract foreign business to the Philippines in a bid to create more jobs locally.


India blocks SMS services in Kashmir after trucker killed

Updated 15 October 2019

India blocks SMS services in Kashmir after trucker killed

  • Security sources said the decision to cut text messaging services was taken to reduce the ability of militants to communicate
  • Indian authorities had only restored call and text services for mobile phones

SRINAGAR: Text messaging services were blocked in Indian Kashmir just hours after being restored when a truck driver was killed by suspected militants and his vehicle set ablaze, authorities said Tuesday.
Separately Indian officials said that a 24-year-old woman died in the latest exchange of artillery fire with Pakistan over their de-facto border dividing the blood-soaked Himalayan region.
Security sources said the decision to cut text messaging services was taken to reduce the ability of militants to communicate.
Indian authorities had only restored call and text services for mobile phones on Monday, following a 72-day blackout in the restive northern territory imposed after New Delhi scrapped the region's semi-autonomous status.
The seven million-plus people of the Kashmir Valley — the main hotbed of resistance to Indian rule — are still cut off from the Internet, however.
Authorities said SMS services were cut again on Monday night following the attack on the driver of a truck carrying apples in Shopian.
Residents said two masked gunmen told the driver to use his truck to block the road, but it skidded and got stuck.
“The gunmen then fired at the truck and set it on fire,” a witness told AFP.
Apples are a sensitive issue in Kashmir, which exports vast quantities of the fruit to markets across India.
Many orchard owners say they are refusing to harvest this year to protest against the government’s move to scrap Kashmir’s autonomy.
Indian authorities say that militants — backed by arch-rival Pakistan — have been intimidating farmers and businessmen.
The latest death from Pakistani artillery fire over the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir brings the number of fatalities on the Indian side to three in the past four days, the Press Trust of India reported.
Two Indian soldiers were killed in two separate incidents on Friday and Sunday, PTI said. It was unclear if there were any fatalities from Indian fire on the Pakistani side.
Also on Tuesday, police arrested 13 women activists in Srinagar after they staged a protest calling for civil liberties and the release of detainees.
The women, wearing black armbands, were arrested for “breaching the peace” and for a contravening a ban in place since early August on public gatherings of more than four people, police said.
They included the sister and daughter of former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, one of several hundred local politicians, lawyers and others in custody since early August, mostly without charge.
Abdullah, 81, was formally arrested in mid-September under the highly contentious Public Safety Act (PSA) that allows someone to be held for up to two years without charge, and which has been used widely in Kashmir in recent years.
Rebels have been fighting for three decades some 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the territory, demanding independence or to join Pakistan which also controls part of the region and, like India, claims it in full.