A new batch of distressed Filipino Workers is set to depart Kuwait to return to their respective families in the Philippines.
Around 330 OFWs are set to return home, 200 out of which stayed at a shelter provided by the Philippine Embassy. It includes domestic helpers who escaped from their employers and Filipinos who lost their jobs amid the pandemic. Moreover, Filipinos suffering from medical issues or those expats living in Kuwait without proper documentation will also be sent home.
“This is a necessary endeavor because we have several runaway housemaids at the shelter and we need to send them back to their loved ones. That is part of our mandate to protect the wellbeing of every Filipino abroad,” says Adrian Baccay, the Philippine Embassy Spokesperson.
These distressed Filipinos will go onboard a chartered flight which is personally organized by the Philippine Embassy in cooperation with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs as well as the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs. A lot of those distressed OFWs living in the shelter have been there for a couple of months or those who were not able to receive a salary or get subjected to different kinds of maltreatment.
Over many years, the Philippines and Kuwait are engulfed with a lot of controversies on issues regarding the bad treatment of Filipino domestic workers. But these issues were addressed accordingly, leading to a stronger relationship between both countries. Some of the rights given to Filipino domestic workers include one day rest day every week, not more than 12 hours of work every day, an annual holiday of one month, the right to keep her passport.
“We want them to go back to their families – we managed to fix their issues prior to their flight, which is the reason why we only set until 8 am today (March 1) to apply for the chartered flight. Included in the list are Filipinos whose records are clean with no travel bans or absconding cases, or else they need to wait for the next chartered flight if they want to be repatriated for free,” says Baccay.
This flight back to the Philippines is also free of charge as it is sponsored by Philippine Airlines.