52 undocumented OFWs repatriated from Kuwait

By Maxxy Santiago, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau

Posted at Apr 08 2014 10:16 AM | Updated as of Apr 08 2014 06:16 PM

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KUWAIT CITY - A total of 52 undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), or whose residence visas (iqama) have expired, were repatriated to the Philippines on Monday evening, while 10 left earlier this week as part of the series of mass repatriation of stranded OFWs in Kuwait.

Philippine embassy officials led by Consul General Atty. Raul Dado, together with Assistance to Nationals Unit Head Mar Hassan, Repatriation Program Officer Musa Ibrahim, Case Officers Joseph De Claro, Joven Cabanes, Travel Document Officer Cathy Gison and Department of Social Welfare and Development Attaché Annie Mendoza, were at the Kuwait International Airport to see them off and assist them during their check-in at the airport.

Most of the undocumented OFWs worked as Household Service Workers (HSWs) and were victims of non-payment of salaries, fatigue, lack of food, physical, verbal and sexual abuse prompting them to escape from their employers.

The repatriates did not seek refuge at the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC). They opted to stay outside to find alternative jobs. Some found jobs with meager salaries while others stayed with their friends.

The repatriates beamed with happiness and excitement as they checked in at the airport.

Dado disclosed to ABS-CBN Middle East that the repatriates, who have no legal cases, shouldered their own airplane tickets as they flew out of Kuwait without being detained.

"This is proof of the sublime intentions of the Kuwait government in the field of human rights, to care for our people in this way. We are also focusing on the ones awaiting repatriation in the deportation centers, as the chiefs of these centers have welcomed the embassy and guided us through the deportation procedures," said Dado.

He added that they keep on looking for ways to make the repatriation of undocumented OFWs as quick and as pleasant as possible given the circumstances.

"The authorities of this country have been open to ideas and I personally see this as great encouragement to me and the Philippine government led by our Ambassador Lamberto Monsanto with the inspiration of our Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario," he said.

Dado explained that there is still no amnesty and this repatriation is a part of the embassy’s continuous repatriation program. With the help and cooperation of the Ministry of Interior, the processing of all their necessary travel documents was expedited and they went straight from the embassy to the airport without passing through the 'Talha' or deportation center.

“We would like to thank the Ministry of Interior and most especially His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah for the kindness extended by the Kuwait government to the undocumented OFWs," cited Dado.

Dado urged all undocumented OFWs to go to the Philippine Embassy and have their travel documents processed as soon as possible.