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Duterte in South Korea for official visit

President to look for helicopters to replace scrapped Canadian choppers

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Sunday, June 3, 2018. Rodrigo Duterte, on the three-day visit, will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in. (Kim In-chul/Yonhap via AP)

SEOUL — President rODRIGO Duterte on Sunday met with members of the Filipino community at the Grand Hilton hotel and convention center here at 4 p.m. (3 p.m. in Manila) to thank them for their sacrifices for their families and for their contributions to the Philippines’ socioeconomic development.

The President arrived here early Sunday morning for a three-day official visit upon the invitation of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who he would meet on Monday at the Blue House, the executive office of the South Korean head of state.

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Thanks, apologizes to Kuwait

The President’s Philippine Airlines commercial flight touched down in Incheon Airport at 4:57 a.m. (3:57 a.m. in Manila).

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In a speech before the Filipino community, the President said he would like to go to Kuwait “even for just a few hours” and thank authorities for providing more protection to overseas Filipino workers there, majority of whom are working as domestic helpers.

He thanked Kuwaiti officials for ensuring that Filipino maids would be provided better working conditions amid earlier cases of abuse and maltreatment against them by Kuwaiti employers.

He said these included the assurance that Filipino maids would be able to keep their cell phones and passports, have seven hours of sleep, one-day off from work, as well as freedom from sexual harassment.

The President also took the opportunity to apologize to Kuwait for harsh words he may have used during the height of the diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Visit to military base

He mentioned the Kuwait issue after introducing Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to the audience as the one who led a diplomatic mission last month that successfully mended ties between Manila and Kuwait.

Also in his speech, the President, after introducing National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., said he would look for helicopters in South Korea after his government scrapped a P12-billion deal with Canada to purchase 16 Bell 412 combat utility helicopters.

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Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Raul Hernandez said the Chief Executive was set to visit one of the military bases here to look at “defense equipment.”

Also in his speech, the President said he had warned his Cabinet officials against excessive travels or they would be sacked. —With a report from Julie M. Aurelio

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TAGS: Duterte in South Korea, Rodrigo Duterte
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