TFC News

343 distressed OFWs from Kuwait fly home

Maxxy Santiago | ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau

Posted at Sep 07 2022 11:52 PM

KUWAIT CITY - Some 343 distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) were repatriated to the Philippines by the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait on September 5, 2022 on board a chartered Philippine Airlines flight PR8764.

Most of the repatriates who were undocumented or residence visa violators spent time at the Talha or Kuwait Deportation Center.

Repats mula Kuwait

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait headed by Charge d’ Affaires Jose Cabrera III coordinated with the Kuwait Ministry of Interior for the issuance of the exit clearance of the repatriates.

The free repatriation flight was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs. (DFA-OUMWA) in line with the commitment of the Philippine government in bringing home all distressed OFWs.

Mga Pilipino tinulungang makauwi mula Kuwait

Cabrera was at the Kuwait International Airport Terminal 1 to see off the repatriates. Joining Cabrera were Vice Consul Josel Mostajo, Vice Consul Aaron Erick Lozada and other embassy staff as well as POLO-OWWA officials, Assistant Labor Attache Cathrine Duladul, Welffare Officers Genevieve Ardiente, Emmanuel Diaz, Louella Marie Calanza and other staff to assist the repatriates at the check-in counter.

Pila ng mga Pinay

Among the 343 repatriates were 20 medical cases and 22 undocumented kids including seven infants. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) at the embassy continues to process the travel documents of undocumented Filipino children.

“Magtungo lang po sa Philippine Embassy Consular Section para sa report of birth and then andyan po ang DSWD kasama, katuwang po natin ang Assistance to National Unit para sa processing po ng ating exit visa ng mga undocumented children and their parents,” disclosed DSWD Attache Carol Mutia.

Kuwait repats
Most of the repatriates worked as Household Service Workers (HSWs) who left their employers after experiencing various forms of maltreatment such as physical, verbal or sexual abuse, non-payment of salaries, lack of food and fatigue.

“Three years po ako sa aking amo, hindi po nya ako binibilhan ng ticket. Pasalamat po ako at binilhan po ako ng embassy ng libreng pauwi sa Pilipinas,” stated Monique, one of the repatriates.

This is the second mass repatriation in Kuwait and the biggest in number of repatriates under the new government of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who earlier expressed his commitment to ensuring the welfare of the OFWs and helping distressed OFWs by bringing them home to their families.

The Kuwait Ministry of Interior has launched recently an intensive crackdown on undocumented or overstaying expatriates in the country.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy will continue to mount chartered flights as needed to fly home distressed OFWs. All undocumented and distressed OFWs may seek the help of the embassy should they want to go back home.

“The embassy will help those Filipinos who approach us for assistance sa repatriation. First we check kung meron silang mga complaints against them because complaints have to be resolved. And then also some have travel bans, so if they have travel bans or other cases then we also help negotiate, it takes a little bit longer than the usual repatriation pero makakauwi po sila,” stated Cabrera.