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THE LAST BATCH

216 abused Filipino workers back from Kuwait

By: - Reporter / @JLeonenINQ
/ 12:48 AM April 24, 2018

DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano receives the arriving OFWs repatriated from Kuwait at the NAIA Termial 1 on Monday, April 23, 2018. (INQUIRER.net/Julius Leonen)

Published: 6:46 p.m., April 23, 2018 | Updated: 12:48 a.m., April 24, 2018

The last group of distressed Filipino migrant workers in Kuwait arrived in Manila on Monday just after a controversy between the Philippines and the wealthy Gulf state over alleged abuses suffered by Filipinos at the hands of Arab employers erupted into a fresh diplomatic row.

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A total of 216 Filipinos — all domestic workers — arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport aboard a Qatar Airways plane at 6:15 a.m.

They were accompanied home by ACTS OFW Rep. John Bertiz, Assistant Communications Secretary Mocha Uson, acting Assistant Foreign Secretary for Public Diplomacy Elmer Cato and Consul General Pendosina Lomondot.

The housemaids were either undocumented workers or migrants who overstayed their visas and agreed to leave the emirate by April 22 to avoid prosecution and certain incarceration under an amnesty program worked out by the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments.

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Paid trip

The Philippine government paid for their trip home.

Some of the maids had not been home in nine years, according to Cato.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano met the returning migrant workers at the airport.

The government will help find new jobs for the migrants under an aid program. The returnees were given P5,000 in cash each to tide them over until they could find new jobs or learn a trade under the program.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, more than 5,000 of an estimated 10,000 undocumented Filipino migrant workers in Kuwait have been repatriated under the amnesty program.

Those who did not make it before the April 22 deadline could still apply for repatriation, although they would suffer the penalties for overstaying or working illegally in Kuwait, Cayetano said.

Efforts by Philippine Embassy staff in Kuwait to bring home distressed Filipinos angered Kuwait last week, leading to a protest from the emirate, the detention of two people from the Philippine mission, and jeopardizing the signing of an agreement for the regulation of working conditions for Filipinos between the two governments. /kga /pdi

READ: PH issues total ban on deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait
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TAGS: DFA, Kuwait, OFWs, repatriation
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