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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, February 16, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

The last straw in Kuwait

Ninfa Leonardia

The reaction of the Kuwaiti government to the decision of President Duterte to repatriate Filipino overseas workers, especially domestic helpers, in that country has apparently more than bothered their people. And it looks as if they are taking the offensive by declaring that they are condemning his statements. And their minister of Foreign Affairs seems to have reported us to the United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, who happens to be in their country now.

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I doubt, though, if they will get much sympathy from Tillerson. I am even sure the American official will be shocked beyond words when he finds out that the straw that broke the camel's back, was the recent discovery of a Filipina OFW, in a freezer at an abandoned residence. That was a very inhuman act, that seemed to show how lowly their employers consider their workers, this time the Filipinas, whom they know to come from very poor families here.

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The Kuwaiti reaction also proves that they have really come to be dependent on their “atsays (domestics)” from our country, and probably look upon them as just beasts of burden. All right, let us not generalize, but the President must know enough proofs of such abuse and maltreatment, so that he reacted that way. Now, if some domestic workers there from the Philippines do not want to be repatriated, that is another story. By all means, let them stay, but they should not cry out for help if they are beaten up, starved, raped, or frozen like old meat.

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Anyway, I understand that the ban covers only those who are willing and ready to move out because they are not bound any contracts, or they have not experienced any maltreatment from their employers. As for those who have contracts but want to leave, what help can our government provide them? They should make all this clear to the workers out there, and also oblige our embassy people to regularly check on their kababayans, and see for themselves their working conditions and treatment. I believe any of those incidents could be ground for dissolving the contracts.

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Finally, something is being done about the illegal structures in Boracay, and even in the facilities being offered to tourists going there, both foreign and local. I wonder who had tipped off the President about all the mess accumulating in our premier tourist attraction, but it must be someone who knows the place in and out. Imagine, it was even found out that some sewage sytems are just flowing out to the sea, and even forest areas are now occupied by, well, squatters, who also make use of their structures as lodging houses for penny-pinching travelers.

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Well, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been siccéd on the place, and let us see what it can do, and how soon can changes be seen. Otherwise, Angry Digong might keep his word and order it closed. I haven't been to Boracay myself for some time now, maybe three or four, even five years, but used to do quite often. What I noted even then was that some of the transportation facilities were rather decrepit, like the tricycles where you could fall off when it is negotiating a curve or bumping on hilly road. Maybe these add local color, but for seasoned travelers, foreign ones, especially, who are used to the facilities other resorts offer, they could still be tagged primitive. Let us hope our Tourism Secretary stops traveling all over the world and look closer to home.

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Speaking of the touring Tourism head, how many trips had she made all over the world since she assumed office? With all the countries where she had brought her staff members, including her make-up artist, they must have been quite a lot. And yet the former Education Secretary was fired because she made a dozen trips abroad during her term! I hope more enterprising reporters also look into the records of other globe-trotting officials, especially those who bring their personal attendants.

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Well, well! The football team from our province and city, is already getting a name among their peers as Ceres Negros did what few players could accomplish last Tuesday. They scored nine goals against Cambodia, leaving the latter no chance to score at all. It was a condescending note that, well, the Ceres-Negros Team based in Bacolod, were playing at the Panaad Stadium, which is home ground to them. But that is certainly a record, and we congratulate the home team for it. May you have more successful plays – anywhere!*

 

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