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Duterte eyes October visit to Kuwait

President Rodrigo Duterte might visit Kuwait in October in connection with his plan to thank the Gulf state for acceding to his demand for a labor pact ensuring the welfare of migrant Filipino workers, his top aide Wednesday.

Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go said the visit is subject to the availability of the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

Duterte was supposed to visit Kuwait in May but it did not push through due to the diplomatic row triggered by the abuses suffered by overseas Filipino workers in the hands of their employers in the country.

Following negotiations, both countries entered into an agreement on the protection and welfare of OFWs, prompting Duterte to lift the total deployment ban on new hires.

Among the key features of the agreement are the provision of food, housing, clothing; the registration in the health insurance system for domestic workers; and the use of cellular phones so that OFWs could communicate with their relatives in the Philippines.

The deal also provides that the employer should open a bank account under the domestic worker's name to allow the reasonable opportunity to remit his or her monthly salary to relatives in the Philippines.

In his third State of the Nation Address on Monday, Duterte said the government is continuing to work with host nations to ensure the welfare of Filipinos.

He appealed to all host governments “to help us, as true and dependable partners, in this endeavor.”

Duterte made the address before a packed Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City with members of the diplomatic community among those in the audience. — BM, GMA News