Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte warned on Wednesday that he may impose a permanent ban on sending workers to Kuwait and withdraw his countrymen working there if another Filipino domestic helper is raped and killed.
The comments were the second time in less than a week that Mr Duterte expressed anger about alleged abuse in Kuwait, where he said low-paid Filipinos were made to endure rape and starvation.
“Treat my countrymen as human beings with dignity,” said the president.
Mr Duterte asked the governments of Kuwait and other Middle East countries, where more than a million Filipinos work, to take steps to end the abuse.
“I hope I am not committing a diplomatic faux pas. But one more incident … I’m going to ban,” he said in a speech before leaving for a regional summit in India.
“And I’m sorry, the Filipinos there, you can all go home,” he said. “If you leave, they will also be having a hell of a time adjusting to that.”
On Friday, the labour ministry suspended deployment of workers to Kuwait, a day after Mr Duterte said abuse had driven several domestic helpers to commit suicide.
Kuwait initially expressed surprise and said it was in touch with Manila to try to resolve the issue.
More than 250,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, the Philippine foreign ministry estimates, most of them as domestic helpers.