Tabuk, Kalinga – Malacañang on Tuesday, February 13, assured repatriated Filipino workers from Kuwait that the government would attend to their employment needs amid the President’s order to impose a total ban on their deployment to the Gulf nation.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. in a press briefing here explained President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to ban Filipinos from seeking work in the Arab nation, following the reported abuses of Kuwaiti employers against overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“Siguro po itong major decision na ipagbawal ang deployment sa Kuwait ng ating mga Pilipinong kababayan ay patunay po na pinangangalagaan ng ating Pangulo ang seguridad at pagkatao ng ating mga Pilipinong kapatid,” Roque stressed.
To address the plight of returning OFWs who will have to look for new jobs, Roque said the national government has directed its missions to find alternative work for them, particularly in countries that are signatories to International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions protecting migrant workers’ rights.
“Ang tinitingnan po natin, mga bansa gaya ng Oman at Bahrain na walang kahit anong reklamo pong pang-aabuso sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino,” he cited.
The Spokesperson further said those who voluntarily repatriated would receive P5,000 worth of immediate financial assistance, in addition to the P20,000 livelihood aid from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
President Duterte ordered the ban of Filipino deployment to the Arab nation after the body of a migrant Filipina worker was found in a freezer.
“‘Yung kanyang order po na itigil na ‘yan maski tayo ay mawawalan ng kita, ‘yan po ay isang paghihiwatig at pruweba na inuuna ng ating Presidente ang interes hindi lang ng mga Pilipino, kundi ng ating mga kababaihan. Hindi dapat binabastos, hindi dapat inaapi, dapat po ginagalang,” Roque stressed.
“[A]ng sabi ng Pangulo, hindi naman siya papayag na ang mga Pilipino, lalo na ang kababaihan, aapihin lang ng mga dayuhan. Naghihirap na nga, nagtatrabaho na nga malayo sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay, tatratuhin pang parang hayop,” he added.
The Secretary said the administration is expecting a response from the Kuwaiti government in finding justice for the abused OFWs. He said under international laws, Kuwait is obligated to do so.
Meanwhile, the Palace Spokesperson assured that under the current administration, more job opportunities await Filipino workers in the country, so they won’t have to leave their families and work abroad.
“Ang talagang gusto hong mangyari ng Presidente, hindi na makipagsapalaran sa mga malalayong lugar ang ating kapwa Pilipino. At ang tanging paraan na makakamit ito ay mabigyan sila ng trabaho dito sa Pilipinas,” Roque said, citing the government’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure plan as a means to generate additional jobs for Filipinos.
Gov’t registers highest tax effort in 11 yrs
During the same press briefing, Malacañang announced that the government has achieved its highest tax effort in 11 years.
Roque cited data from the Department of Finance, which showed that last year’s tax effort registered at 14.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), an increase of 0.6 percent from the previous year.
This is also significantly higher than the 0.3 percent yearly average during the previous administration.
Roque congratulated the “hardworking officers and employees” of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and thanked Filipino taxpayers for ensuring the proper collection of taxes.
In return, he said the government vows to properly use its revenues to fund the administration’s priority programs on education, health, housing, and infrastructure. ### PCO-Content