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Filipino workers stranded after ban on deployment of OFWs in Kuwait

Filipino workers stranded after ban on deployment of OFWs in Kuwait

"We have 170,000 Filipino nationals living a decent life here", the minister said.

Displaced Filipino domestic helpers from Kuwait could consider taking on jobs that will become available once government projects are rolled out under its priority infrastructure program, dubbed as "Build, Build, Build".

The suspension of the processing of new employment certificates for Kuwait-bound however was not enough for the President, who wanted to "send a strong message" through a total OFW deployment ban, said Labor Secretary Bello.

The organization said it will present policy recommendations to the President and Secretary Bello III on how to ensure the welfare of OFWs not only in the Gulf state but around the world.

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.

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Raul Dado, Executive Director for the DFA-Office of Migrant Workers Affairs, said "records show that abuses in Kuwait have persisted in spite of the Philippine government's effort to prosecute perpetrators of abuse and to negotiate a bilateral labor agreement". Duterte said on Friday that the suspension would be indefinite.

It's the latest case to draw the anger of populist Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who in January complained that cases of abuse reported by Filipina domestic workers "always" seem to be coming from Kuwait.

There have been numerous complaints made by OFWs in Kuwait of maltreatment, including non-payment of salaries, rape, verbal and physical abuse.

This was amid an investigation on Filipino household workers dying in that country.

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".

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Earlier, Roque said: "Those who opt for repatriation from Kuwait will be given P5,000 financial assistance and a further P20,000 assistance for alternative livelihood". These repatriated OFWs will also be providing free food and refreshments, as well as baggage allowance for all passengers on board the flight. Some 150 more will arrive on Tuesday and another 250 the next day. Succeeding flights depart from Kuwait International Airport on Thursday, February 15; Saturday, February 17; and Sunday, February 18, with the same flight schedules.

"He's meeting with PAL and Cebu Pacific because they signified willingness to help", Francia added.

The schedule of the flight is being coordinated with the DFA and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, she said.

The first task force, headed by Labour Undersecretary Dominado Say, was tasked to handle the repatriation of OFWs pursuant to the directive of the president to repatriate them within 72 hours.

He said the third task force will conduct job fairs to recruit workers needed in the Philippines.

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