One of the great ironies and indeed tragedies within dishonest media is that while those who know nothing about the horrific drug problem that President Duterte is combating in The Philippines, such commentators still find the time to condemn Duterte as a “human rights violator”. Not only is Duterte’s cleansing of The Philippines from the plague of murdering, raping, mutilating, torturing and thieving drug addicts and narco-traffickers helping to improve the living standards and human rights of the majority of law abiding Filipinos, but Duterte has done something that few Presidents whose citizens work abroad in high numbers has ever done.
It is no secret that due to the economic mismanagement of most of Duterte’s predecessors, that many Filipinos go abroad looking for job opportunities. Some of these opportunities include working in the service sector of rich Gulfi states including Kuwait. However, what is equally widely known is that throughout the Gulfi states, wealthy individuals and their families often treat their workers in the most horrific ways possible.
When a young Filipina was murdered and her body gruesomely stuffed into a freezer in Kuwait, President Duterte ordered an end to Filipino workers travelling to Kuwait and also ordered all Filipinos in the country to leave in order to protect themselves from harm.
Since then, Duterte has pledged to take tough action against countries that are notorious for abusing Filipino workers. Rather than accept that Kuwait like most of its wealthy Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) neighbours has a nightmarish problem when it comes to the abuse of foreign workers, the country’s officials have denied any systematic problems.
Recent videos emerged of staff at the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait helping its citizens to escape the country. As a result, Kuwait has ordered the expulsion of the Philippine ambassador. While Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has apologised for the actions of the Embassy, he did not need to.
It is an obligation of a foreign embassy to assist its citizens when in danger abroad and in this case, they were simply trying to help Filipinos leave a country that President Duterte has said is too dangerous of Filipinos to work in.
In any case, the actions of the embassy were peaceful and minimal while the treatment of many Filipinos in Kuwait is disgusting. The fact of the matter is that it is not only Filipinos who suffer at the hands of many Gulfi employers with a slave mentality. A video recently emerged of a foreign woman committing suicide in Kuwait while her employers filmed the entire scene for their amusement.
But while many Asian countries that provide foreign workers in the Gulfi states, including many large countries like India have said and done little to help their own citizens in the region, The Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte has taken a stand for the human rights of his people who should be able to work abroad without fear of abuse.
Duterte has helped raise the issue of safety and human rights for foreign workers in a way that few others in the world have dared to do. For this, he should be applauded for being a champion of human rights, rather than a violator of human rights.
Duterte has made his own geopolitical life slightly more difficult as relations between The Philippines and wealthy Gulfi nations will now be strained. The fact he did this in spite of any difficulty is a sign that he truly prioritises the welfare of his people above any other considerations.