- President Duterte has vowed to bring OFWs on death row in the Middle East back home
- He said some of them were already given clearance and are allowed to return to the country
- Duterte added he will also thank the leaders of the three countries for their support
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to bring home some of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on death row in the Middle East upon his return from a 6-day state visit to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.
In his pre-departure speech on Monday, April 10, in Davao City, Duterte said some OFWs on death row were already given clearance and are allowed to return to the Philippines anytime.
“They’ve been given the clearance. I will fly them home. Pagdating ko dito, dala ko na iyong iba [Some of them will be with me upon my return],” Duterte said.
Duterte left for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Monday and will stay there until April 12. He will fly next to Bahrain and to Qatar; to stay in each country for two days.
The Philippine leader is expected to meet with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia; King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain; and Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said during a press briefing last week that there are 31 Filipinos on death row in Saudi Arabia and 1 in Bahrain. There is no OFW on death row in Qatar.
“We’ll start bringing them back. The first batch, pagdating ko, pagbalik — Inshallah — nandito na ang iba,” said Duterte.
[We’ll start bringing them back. The first batch, upon my return – Inshallah – some of them will be here.]
Duterte added there is much at stake in the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the Middle Eastern countries because the latter is the “global center of traditional energy resources” and the source of investments with potential for growth.
“It is an expanding market for Philippine key products and services. And, it is home to the largest group of Filipinos working overseas,” the President said.
“I am excited to see them and thank them for their support for our efforts to bring reform and change in our country,” he added.