ABOUT 250 Filipino workers from Kuwait are expected to arrive today, Wednesday, according to The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
This is the third batch of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to come home after the Philippines banned the deployment of OFWs to the Gulf state because of allegations of abuse by Kuwaiti employers.
President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed 116 OFWs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Tuesday; while another 400 arrived on Monday.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) enforced the total ban after Joanna Demafelis, a domestic helper, was found frozen in the home of her employers, who were identified as a Lebanese and Syrian couple, whose whereabouts remain unknown.
There are more than 10,000 Filipino workers who are overstaying in Kuwait, according to The Philippines’ Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Pedro Villa.
Of the total, 8,000 are domestic helpers, most of whom claim abuse from their employers.
Following the ban, Kuwait criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for bringing home the OFWs, warning that this may sour ties between the two countries.
The OFWs who came home on Tuesday were each given grocery bags and cash assistance amounting to P15,000 – P5,000 from the OWWA; P5,000 from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA); and P5,000 from Duterte himself.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the OWWA would give P20,000 livelihood aid to the repatriated workers.
The OFWs who returned to the country via Etihad Airlines were mostly women.
At least 2,500 Filipinos in Kuwait have expressed interest in coming home, but officials said this number could increase with the free flights offered by the President.
Duterte also praised Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific for volunteering their services for free. MIGGY DUMLAO, FRANCE CAUBANG