289 OFWs repatriated from Kuwait back in Manila

OFWs being helped by and awaiting instructions from the DMW-DFA composite team (Photo courtesy of the Department of Migrant Workers)

By TDT

August 3, 2022

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) welcomed home on Tuesday 289 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) repatriated from Kuwait, among them a number of workers who had been stranded in the Middle Eastern country for several months. The group arrived in Manila around 8:15 pm Tuesday and were promptly extended assistance, according to DMW Secretary Susan Ople.

The OFWs were repatriated with the help of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and were flown to Manila aboard Philippine Airlines Flight No. 8764. The DMW, meanwhile, through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), arranged for the OFWs’ domestic flights and land travel back to their respective provinces.

“Out of the more than 200 OFWs assisted by the DMW, around 141 were brought to quarantine facilities due to incomplete vaccination records, while seven of them required medical assistance due to various health conditions,” Ople said.

Among the repatriated workers were two cancer patients and three pregnant women, as well as several OFWs with medical ailments. “We have taken note of our workers from Kuwait with health concerns so that the necessary assistance can be provided by relevant agencies including the Department of Health,” said Ople.

Norma C. (last name withheld upon request), an OFW who had been working in Kuwait since 1986, expressed her gratitude to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait for helping her return to the Philippines after she spent several months in Kuwait’s deportation facility. According to Norma, her employer abandoned her last December. After 35 years of working as a cleaner, she said she was coming home penniless.

Other OFWs complained of physical exhaustion in their former work, lack of proper food and rest, excessive work hours, and physical as well as verbal abuse. Some of them were caught overstaying or working with expired visas.

Ople has assured the repatriated workers of help from the government: “I have given instructions to the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) to assess the needs of the repatriated workers and extend the necessary assistance for them to begin a new and better chapter in life.”

Aside from the DFA and the DMW, other government agencies that had representatives present at the airport to assist the repatriated workers were the Bureau of Quarantine, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and DMW-attached agencies OWWA and NRCO.

 


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