VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Kuwait DID NOT get on its knees to ask forgiveness from Duterte after diplomatic row

(UPDATED) At least two websites - pinoynews.info and dailyinsights.today - published May 1 a fabricated story claiming Kuwait "got on its knees" and "asked forgiveness" from President Rodrigo Duterte following a dispute over Filipino workers' treatment in the Gulf state.

Bearing the headline "KUWAIT NAGSISI NA! HUMINGI NG PAUMANHIN KAY DUTERTE NAKIPAG AYOS KAAGAD! PANOORIN (Kuwait repents! Asked forgiveness from Duterte, made peace immediately! Watch)," the stories carried the same 22-minute video titled "KUWAIT LUMOHOD HUMINGI NG PAUMANHIN KAY DUTERTE NAKIPAG AYOS KAAGAD (Kuwait got on its knees, asked forgiveness from Duterte, made peace immediately)" by a certain California-based Duterte supporter named "Maharlika" discussing the row, and used in its thumbnail a 2014 Shutterstock photo of a Muslim man, praying.

While Kuwait did extend April 30 a message that it wants to "remain in direct communication" with the Philippines to solve the problem it calls "largely a misunderstanding," no news outfit has reported, nor did Maharlika claim in her video, that Kuwait "repented," "got on its knees," and "asked forgiveness" from Duterte.

The Philippines accepted the conciliatory message the same day the false story was published. Two days earlier, Duterte announced a permanent ban on Filipino workers going to work in the Gulf state, following months of tension that erupted when Kuwait declared April 25 Philippine ambassador Renato Villa persona non grata for conducting illicit "rescue" missions of Filipinos reportedly being maltreated by Kuwaiti employers.

The story is at least the fourth in a series of reports published by pro-Duterte news sites from April 30 to May 1 that disinform about the diplomatic dispute between the country and Kuwait.

Pinoynews.info was created on April 27; dailyinsights.today on February 22; and Youtube channel DDS News Army, which uploaded Maharlika's video, in September 2017. The story could have reached almost three million people, its biggest traffic generators on social media being President Duterte Worldwide Supporters, President DuterteAstig Supporters and President Duterte Loyal Supporters.

UPDATE: A third website, newsglobal.top, published the same fabricated story, bearing the headline “PANOORIN! KUWAIT NAGSISI NA! HUMINGI NG PAUMANHIN KAY DUTERTE NAKIPAG AYOS KAAGAD (Watch! Kuwait repents! Asked forgiveness from Duterte and made peace immediately)!”

The website was created on April 13.

Its post could have reached some 540,000 people, and its biggest traffic generators on social media are the Facebook pages Pres. Rody Duterte Worldwide Supporters; Pinoy Republic; Pres. Rody Duterte News Global; Pilipinas Trending; and Active Social Media Commentators of the Philippines.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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