100 OFWs who availed of Kuwait amnesty to return home Saturday

KUWAIT -- The Philippine government on Saturday (7 a.m. Kuwait time) repatriated at least 100 undocumented Filipino workers from Kuwait under the amnesty program granted by the Kuwaiti government.

A total of 4,494 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were already brought home through the Assistance to Nationals Fund (ATN) of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), under the amnesty program extended by the Kuwaiti government.

According to DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola, the government has already spent at least PHP66.1 million for plane tickets, with some 300 no-shows worth about PHP5 million.

On the other hand, PHP22.5 million was allotted for cash assistance, still less of the operational costs.

The flight, carrying more than 100 Filipinos on Saturday, is the third to the last flight the DFA is shouldering under the context of the Kuwaiti amnesty.

While the amnesty is set to lapse on April 22, Arriola said the DFA will still assist Filipinos seeking help after the program's expiration.

"If they get arrested, you know because of the crackdown, we will assist them and bring them home, because we don't turn our backs on our nationals," she said.

"We asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs already, if there are Filipinos arrested, tell us, so that we can bring them home," she added.

Arriola said the Philippine government will still cover the plane tickets of Filipinos who will be deported once their papers are complete.

"Yes (we will shoulder), regardless of how long the process would take. Under the amnesty there's no arrest (but) there really is the danger of arrest after 22, and they will be forever banned by then, that's already deportation," she said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency