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Tuesday , November 24 2020

POLO Kuwait to launch ‘mercy flight’ for stranded Filipinos in September

Around 5,876 Pinoys leave Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 26: The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Kuwait will organise a ‘mercy flight’ to bring home stranded and distressed Overseas Filipino Workers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, disclosed Philippine Labour Attache to Kuwait Nasser Mustafa.

Nasser Mustafa

Mustafa who is the concurrent Labour Attache to Riyadh informed the Arab Times that POLO Kuwait will mount a chartered flight in September under the auspices of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the Philippines.

“We will be requesting from DOLE to fund the chartered flight to bring home the stranded Filipinos in Kuwait as we have received a big number of appeal for help from stranded Filipinos who were terminated from their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Mustafa.

Travel
He added that POLO Kuwait along with the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait has been repatriating regularly groups of stranded OFWs on board chartered flights organized by various travel agencies in Kuwait, but this time, POLO-Kuwait would mount one free chartered flight for all the distressed OFWs similar to the DOLE-funded chartered flights in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“To those who want to go with the chartered flight in September, they may contact POLO-Kuwait for enlistment,” stated Mustafa. All stranded OFWs who want to be on the ‘mercy flight’ may contact the POLO hotline 94039063 for details. Based on the POLO data, over 23,000 OFWs were displaced from their jobs due to the pandemic who applied for the DOLE-AKAP one time cash assistance at the POLO. The Philippine Embassy together with POLO Kuwait continues to expedite the repatriation of overseas Filipinos amid the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the embassy data, to date, there are around 5,876 overseas Filipinos repatriated since March 25, 2020. A number of travel agencies in Kuwait such as Al-Tayer Travel and Tourism, Kapico Travels and Tours, Dadabhai Travel, Al-Rashed International Travel, and National Aviation Services have been organizing chartered Kuwait Airways flights to the Philippines in coordination with the Philippine Embassy for the acquisition of the landing rights. The embassy will continue to endorse clearance requests to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for chartered flights between Kuwait and Manila.

Approval
To date, the embassy has facilitated the approval of landing clearances at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport of 11 chartered Kuwait-to-Manila flights since June 2020. The embassy transmits a flight clearance request to the DFA in the Philippines, which then endorses the said request to the CAAP for its approval.

Meanwhile, hundreds of vacationing Filipinos who have been stranded in the Philippines are waiting to fly back to Kuwait as they appealed to the Philippine Embassy and POLO to make representation to the Kuwaiti authorities for the lifting of the ban imposed on the 32 countries that included the Philippines, requiring returning workers from the banned countries to spend 14 days in another country not on the ban list, before flying to Kuwait with the required PCR test certificate.

By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff

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