MANILA — Two hundred overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Kuwait were back home on Tuesday.
They arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on board Qatar Airways flight QR 934.
More than 4,000 OFWs in Kuwait were already repatriated since the implementation of the deployment ban there last February.
The deployment ban was imposed due to reports of maltreatment and abuse that the OFWs there were experiencing.
One domestic helper in Kuwait, Joanna Demafelis, was killed and was found inside a freezer. Her employers, the primary suspects, were sentenced to death by Kuwaiti authorities just recently.
President Rodrigo Duterte had instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment to work on the repatriation of the OFWs.
Charmaine Aviquivil, DFA Office of Public Diplomacy executive director, earlier told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the department targets to repatriate 10,000 OFWs until April 22, which is the deadline for the extension of the amnesty.
President Duterte had also requested two local carriers, the Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific (CEB), to help in the government’s repatriation efforts.
PAL and CEB have heeded this request by mounting free special flights for the OFWs in Kuwait.
Meanwhile, it may be recalled that just this month, the Philippine government also assisted the distressed OFWs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to go home.
Most of the repatriated OFWs from UAE were victims of illegal recruiters. Some of them opted to leave due to maltreatment, poor working conditions, detention, and non-payment of salaries.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) provides all repatriated OFWs a temporary shelter, and the government also shoulders their transportation to go to their respective provinces.
The returning OFWs are also entitled to receive financial assistance from the government. OFWs must coordinate with OWWA regional offices about this, said OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac. Ma. Cristina Arayata/PNA-northboundasia.com