THE Philippines and Kuwait agreed to repatriate some 250 overstaying Filipinos there in a bid to purge the oil-rich country of its massive number of illegal expatriates.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait successfully repatriated a total of 95 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Manila last month, and is expected to send home another batch of 155 Filipinos this September.
The second batch will include five medically ill patients and 100 workers without valid visas, and 50 workers without passports but with valid residency status.
The 105 OFWs without valid visas will be repatriated without undergoing the usual detention.
They will be transported straight to the airport from the embassy.
According to the embassy, there were “mixed emotions” at the Kuwait International Airport when the first batch of 95 Filipinos were repatriated.
“Some of the OFWs [were]in tears and some [were]in a jubilant mood over the thought of returning home,” the embassy said.
One OFW, Rosie, a long-time undocumented worker, conveyed her gratitude to the Philippine Embassy “for its untiring efforts in ensuring that OFWs without valid residency status are allowed to go home with their dignity and self-respect intact.”
“We understand that our OFWs left the Philippines for Kuwait because they aspire for a better life for their families and loved ones. They, therefore, deserve all the assistance the Philippine government can give them, especially when they return to the Philippines and face the challenges of life back home,” Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa said.
The envoy is encouraging more undocumented OFWs in Kuwait to avail the embassy’s mass repatriation program.
The program is in cooperation with the Kuwait Ministry of Interior through its assisted voluntary repatriation program (AVRP), which seeks to address the rising number of illegal expatriates in Kuwait.