KUWAIT CITY, Mar 25: KUWAIT CITY, March 25: Some 253 undocumented and distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) were repatriated to the Philippines on Wednesday on board a special flight of Kuwait Airways KU 417 as part of the Kuwait government’s precautionary measure to thwart the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country by decongesting and clearing off the Kuwaiti deportation centre and the Public Authority Manpower (PAM) Shelter at Jleeb Al Shuyoukh and also on humanitarian ground during this pandemic.
“The repatriates today came from the deportation centre, PAM shelter and the POLO-OWWA shelter. The Kuwait Ministry of Interior through the immigration authorities issued them the exit clearances and we would like to thank the Kuwaiti government for expediting the issuance of their exit clearances,” stated Philippine Charge d’ Affaires to Kuwait Charleson Hermosura who was there at the Kuwait International Airport Terminal 4, together with Vice-Consul Adrian Baccay and other Philippine Embassy personnel to assist the repatriates.
Hermosura outlined that as of March 25, there are no more Filipinos detained at the Kuwait Deportation Centre or distressed OFWs at the PAM shelter in Jleeb Al Shuyoukh.
However, there are still some 91 distressed OFWs at the POLO-OWWA shelter who have a travel ban and were not able to get their exit clearances.
He assured that they will be working on the cases of these OFWs at the POLO-OWWA shelter after the one-month public holiday declared by Kuwait is over.
Most of the undocumented and distressed OFWs 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 overwork.
The repatriates thanked the Kuwait government, the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office for processing all their travel documents. “The repatriates will be welcomed at the airport in Manila by the officials and staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
Everything has been arranged for them when they reach Manila before they head off to their home provinces,” disclosed Philippine Assistant Labor Attache to Kuwait Cathrine Duladul who was also at the airport with Welfare Officers Atty Llewelyn Perez, Ed Bellido, Ms Jingles and POLO-OWWA staff to see off the repatriates and ensure their smooth check-in procedures. The special Kuwait Airways flight shouldered by the Kuwait government is set to arrive in Manila at 3:30 am on March 26.
By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff