President Rodrigo Duterte will ask China to open its doors to Filipino workers. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, CobbleCC, PCOO EDP

President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking to deploy workers from the Philippines to China, after threatening to ban Overseas Foreign Workers from going to Kuwait if employers there continue to abuse them.

Duterte said on Saturday that he would ask China to allow OFWs to work in the country. “I will ask China to open its doors to us. They need teachers and domestic workers,” Duterte said, according to a CNN Philippines report.

The president also urged foreign employers to treat OFWs decently and not to abuse them. “All I ask is don’t abuse them. Do not destroy their dignity as a human being,” he said.

On January 20, the Philippines suspended the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait as authorities investigate the deaths of seven OFWs in the Gulf state.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports Duterte as saying he would be willing to accept the social and economic consequences of stopping the deployment of workers abroad. Cash remittances from Kuwait amounted to US$735 million in the first 11 months of last year, according to data from the Philippines’ central bank.

According to Chinese media reports, there are currently some 100,000 domestic workers from the Philippines in China. However, they are working illegally, with business visas rather than work permits, in key cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. They are not entitled to protection under insurance schemes or labor laws at the moment.

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