Embassy makes final call to undocumented OFWs
KUWAIT CITY, April 20: The Philippine Overseas Labor Offi ce-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO- OWWA) in Kuwait launched a relief operation to help thousands of displaced Overseas Filipino Workers in Kuwait (OFWs) who have either lost their jobs or no salaries as a result of the public holiday in the country as part of the Kuwait government’s precautionary measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
There are 240,000 OFWs in the country and 65 per cent of them work as Household Service Workers while the remaining 35 per cent are skilled or semi-skilled workers.
According to the POLO-OWWA, some 60,000 OFWs were either terminated or on a “No Work, No Pay,” status prompting the POLO- OWWA to launch the food drive with the support of the Philippine Embassy and Filipino organizations.
“We have been distributing food packs for two weeks now to our fellow Filipinos who need help especially those who were not paid their salaries till now and have nothing to eat. The relief operation is funded by the OWWA and we hope to reach out to all the displaced Filipinos in Kuwait,” stated Philippine Welfare Officer Atty Llewelyn Perez who is heading the food drive along with Welfare Officers Eduardo Bellido and Genevieve Ardiente.
She outlined that they have assigned some leaders of various Filipino organizations as area coordinators who will oversee the enlistment and distribution of food packs per area.
“All they have to do is just text their full name based on their passport, address and mobile number to the mobile number of the Coordinator assigned in their area.
Due to the influx of requests, we would like to appeal for their kind understanding but rest assured that help will be extended to them,” explained Perez as she thanked the Embassy and some donors as well as the Filipino volunteers who have been repacking and distributing the food packs.
Aside from the food assistance provided by OWWA, the POLO is also processing now the application for cash assistance of OFWs by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“We have received more than 10,000 applications for the US$200 cash assistance and we have processed 2,000 as of now. We continue to receive applications. All they have to do is apply online and submit all the needed documents,” explained Assistant Labor Attache Cathrine Duladul.
The DOLE-AKAP for OFWs provides one-time financial assistance of Php10,000 or US$200 for displaced land-based and seabased OFWs due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Displaced OFWs in Kuwait can apply on www.polokuwait. com for the cash assistance.
Meanwhile, Philippine Charge d’Affaires Charleson Hermosura made a final call to all undocumented OFWs in Kuwait who failed to make it to the schedule last April 1-5, 2020 to avail the amnesty until the end of this month.
“We are urging all the undocumented OFWs to grab this opportunity to go home without paying any fine, free ticket will be provided and they can still come back here. The Philippine Embassy is open from Sunday to Thursday from 9 am to 11 am to assist them in their travel documents,” stated Hermosura.
According to the Philippines Embassy as of April, 17, 2020, some 2,107 were repatriated from Kuwait. “Thank you very much to the government of Kuwait for its generosity in bringing home our kababayan via a humanitarian flight last March, and through the amnesty program this April,” stated Hermosura.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait continues to appeal to all undocumented Filipinos (illegal and overstaying residents) and those with existing absconding cases to apply for the Kuwaiti government’s amnesty program.
By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff