Repatriates thank Embassy, Kuwait govt
KUWAIT CITY, Aug 21: A total of 63 undocumented Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait were repatriated on Wednesday morning to the Philippines on board Qatar Airways under the Embassy Assisted Repatriation Program (EARP) by the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait in cooperation with the Kuwait government.
The EARP that was previously known as the Assisted Voluntary Repatriation Program (AVRP) is a mutual agreement between the Kuwait government and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait that seeks to address the rising number of illegal expatriates in Kuwait.
“This EARP is part of the continuing program of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait to help distressed OFWs. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) shouldered all the air tickets to Manila under the one-billion-peso Assistance to Nationals fund of the DFA. Then 29 of the 63 were also given free tickets onward to their home province,” disclosed the newly posted Philippine Vice Consul to Kuwait, Adrian Baccay, Head of the Assistance to National Unit (ATNU) and Administrative Officer at the Philippine Embassy. Baccay and some embassy staff were at the Kuwait International Airport to ensure the smooth check-in procedures and safe boarding of the repatriates. “On behalf of Charge d’ Affaires Mohd Noordin Pendosina Lomondot, we would like to thank the Kuwaiti government, in particular the CID Immigration and all the other Kuwaiti government agencies involved in this particular repatriation,” stated Baccay.
Most of the undocumented Filipinos 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. “My first employer sold me to another employer then my second employer did not give me a day off and I got very sick due to overwork so I sought the help of the embassy,” recounted Marilyn, not her real name, one of the 63 undocumented OFWs who left Kuwait on Wednesday for Manila. She had been undocumented for two years after absconding from her employer.
The repatriates thanked the Kuwaiti government and the Philippine Embassy for processing all their travel documents and exit clearance. They also thanked the Department of Foreign Affairs for the free air tickets. “Thank you very much to the Philippine Embassy and the Kuwaiti government for helping us go home.
Thank you to President Duterte. We’re very happy,” stated Marilou, one of the repatriates. Baccay outlined that this is the fifth batch of repatriates under the EARP. To date, a total of 264 undocumented OFWs had gone home this year under the EARP. The repatriation with no detention under the EARP continues, hence, the Philippine Embassy urged all undocumented OFWs in Kuwait to take advantage of this and go home to the Philippines. “All those who want to go home may enlist by calling our EARP hotline 98005115 for the processing of their travel documents and exit clearance and we will do all our best to help them,” stated Baccay.
By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff