Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

No more workers to Kuwait

As Duterte extends deployment ban on Kuwait, airlines ready special flights to bring home OFWs PAL, Cebu Pacific to transport repatriated OFWs from Kuwait
Andrew Cummings | 15 February, 2018, 07:35

MORE than 300 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returned home in two separate flights from Kuwait, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said on Monday.

On Monday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) signed an administrative order enforcing total deployment ban of Filipino workers in the Gulf state. 80 per cent of these, around 8,000 are domestic workers.

Duterte's remarks came after a Filipino woman's body was found dead in a freezer in Kuwait last week, according to Reuters.

"I am appealing to the government, help us seek justice for my daughter's death", Eva Demafelis, mother of Joanna Daniela Demafelis, told ABS CBN network after she, her husband, and children arrived in Manila from their hometown in Iloilo, central Philippines on Saturday.

The warning of a total deployment ban to Kuwait floated in January following the case of seven Filipino household workers who reportedly died due to employers' abuse.

Philippine Airlines said in a press statement that their officials are coordinating with the DFA, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait and Kuwaiti government authorities for the necessary document requirements.

Some 150 OFWs were initially scheduled to arrive in Manila but 12 of them did not show up while the other 22 were held by Kuwait authorities due to their pending cases, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said. "We will also go after illegal recruiters, human traffickers and other modern-day slave traders who continue to victimise our people".

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Filipino workers suffer from racial discrimination worldwide.

"They will be repatriated in batches from February 11 to 13", said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola, adding she was implementing Duterte's order to assist all OFWs who want to return to the Philippines. He said the Philippine government will cover the airfare of repatriates as well as their immigration penalties for overstaying in Kuwait.

Earlier, Roque said: "Those who opt for repatriation from Kuwait will be given P5,000 financial assistance and a further P20,000 assistance for alternative livelihood".

Cayetano, meanwhile, said he had already conveyed to Kuwaiti Ambassador Saleh Ahmad Althwaik the Philippines' "strongest protest over the abuses and maltreatment, labor violations and the failure of Kuwaiti authorities to provide protection to Filipino nationals".

Authorities have not ruled out revoking the permits of Filipinos now working in Kuwait or of previous hires returning on new contracts.

Roque said under the worldwide law, every country had an obligation to protect and give justice to the migrant workers.

Bello yesterday said the deployment ban to that country would be effective immediately and would last until revoked.

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