While there had been several occasions when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had announced his intentions of visiting Kuwait since the tumultuous news of a slain Filipina stuffed in a freezer for over a year erupted since January, which dampened bilateral ties between the two nations.
This was further aggravated when a blanket labour deployment ban had been cast on the Gulf State until mid-May, after the two countries signed an updated memorandum of agreement to ensure the safety and protection of OFWs in Kuwait.
Duterte’s Visit to Kuwait a Sign of Gratefulness
However, last June 15, the Philippine President had cited a more definite purpose for his much-awaited visit to Kuwait. Duterte explained that he will visit Kuwait to personally thank the Kuwaiti government for signing a deal to ensure the safety and welfare of Filipinos working in the Gulf State.
At an oath taking ceremony of the newly-elected village chiefs in Sta. Rosa Laguna, Duterte touched on the topic of his plan to visit Kuwait and was noted saying, “All of the things that I demanded were given to us. One day off. They can cook their own food. There will be no confiscation of passports and no physical abuse. And they can practice their own religion. So, about seven of them were granted. That’s why I’m going to Kuwait.”
In a humble show of character, Duterte reassured his countrymen that there is nothing to be worried about as he will only be taking a commercial flight for his planned visit to say “thank you” and then get on the next available flight back home – just to express his gratitude to the Kuwait government and officials.
The series of bilateral rows have ended positively with the signing of a deal for the safety and welfare of OFWs living in Kuwait. To this, Duterte casually admitted that he had given them (Kuwait) a taste of his “foul mouth” and that everything that followed seemed to be long-drawn, but now everything is starting to fall back into place.