81 distressed OFWs from Abu Dhabi return home Friday

MANILA Eighty-one distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) this time, from Abu Dhabi arrived in the Philippines on Friday, April 6.

They were on board Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR 657.

The Philippine government is helping the distressed OFWs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to go home, apparently because most of them have been victims of illegal recruiters.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), most of these OFWs were tourist visa holders when they came to UAE.

"The repatriation of the 81 OFWs is part of DFA's continuing efforts to combat illegal recruitment, rescue distressed Filipinos, and facilitate their safe return to the Philippines, in line with President Duterte's directive to ensure swift assistance to our overseas Filipinos," an executive from the DFA Office of Public Diplomacy told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

They were victims of illegal recruiters, while some them opted to leave due to maltreatment, poor working conditions, detention, as well as non-payment of salaries, the DFA added.

Meanwhile, the Philippine government is continuously working on the repatriation of OFWs in Kuwait since February, following reports of maltreatment and abuse that the OFWs there were experiencing.

A deployment ban to Kuwait has been imposed since February. Just this year, authorities have discovered the body of Filipino domestic helper, Joanna Demafelis, inside a freezer.

Demafelis was murdered. Her former employers, the primary suspects, were sentenced to death by Kuwaiti authorities just recently.

President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed the DFA and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to work on the OFWs' repatriation.

He has also requested local carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific (CEB) to help in the repatriation efforts. The two airlines heeded the President's request by mounting special flights bringing the distressed OFWs home for free.

Based on DFA's estimates, there are now more than 4,000 repatriated OFWs from Kuwait.

All repatriated OFWs are entitled to receive financial assistance from the government. They were also provided with temporary shelters upon their arrival in Manila.

The government also shoulders their transportation expenses to go home in their respective provinces. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency