Kuwait OFW-deployment ban leaves 25000 household service workers stranded

OFW FROM KUWAIT- 25 Overseas Filipino Workers arrive at NAIA 1 today morning at 6:30 am. via Philippines Airlines flight PR 669 from Kuwait. (Manny Llanes  Manila

In a related development, globalnation. inquirer.net has reported that Cebu Pacific unveiled its plan to dispatch a special flight to Kuwait for Filipino workers who want to return home.

The Filipino embassy was not immediately available for comment.

Meanwhile, Kuwait's interior ministry denied on Monday social media reports that security personnel escorted Filipino domestic workers from citizens' houses against their will. They are among over two million employed in the region, whose remittances are a lifeline to the Philippine economy.

Duterte asked Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Friday to provide flights for Filipinos who want to leave Kuwait, after the body of a Filipino worker was found in a freezer of an abandoned apartment.

Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III has ordered an investigation on the claim made by the family of overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis that their welfare office did not take action on their case.

He also alleged Arab employers routinely raped their Filipina workers, forced them to work 21 hours each day and fed them scraps.

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In a statement, "In addition to the special flights, PAL has been repatriating OFWs using its four weekly Kuwait-Manila regular flights over the past few months".

The Philippine foreign affairs department said on Monday that authorities were repatriating 10,000 overstaying Filipinos from Kuwait under an amnesty programme arranged with the Kuwaiti government. Emmanuel Joel Villanueva - who now heads the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development - condemned the killing of Joanna. How many more are being brutalized?' Villanueva said in a statement.

He added China cannot absorb all the displaced workers in Kuwait that easily although it is estimated that from 15,000 to 20,000 HSWs can be deployed to China "once both governments agree on the recruitment process and salary scales". Our primary concern should be the lives and safety of our workers. The abuse of many Filipino women workers are often Duterte's topic in his speeches.

A DFA source said only Undersecretary Ernesto Abella is authorized to speak about the issue of repatriation from Kuwait.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and low-priced airline Cebu Pacific have heeded President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's call to transport Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait who wish to be repatriated back to the Philippines, following the recent death of an OFW whose body was tracked down inside a freezer.

The association announced it is drawing up recommendations for a more effective delivery of services to OFWs, not just in Kuwait but the entire world.

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