Over 4K OFWs repatriated from Kuwait since January

MANILA Since the start of the amnesty program for undocumented Filipino workers in Kuwait last January, the Duterte administration has repatriated a total of 4,094, with 60 more arriving in Manila Wednesday (April 11), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

"Tonight, we have a flight arriving 9:30 in the evening," said lawyer Blitz Sumagaysay, principal assistant to the DFA-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs.

The 60 Filipinos from Kuwait will arrive via Etihad Airways flight EY 428.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Sumagaysay reiterated the government's appeal for undocumented Filipinos to immediately avail the program since the deadline set by the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait is due tomorrow, April 12.

He said those Filipinos who would be caught after the amnesty officially lapses on April 23 would not only face arrest, fines, and lifetime ban to Kuwait but also possible denial of entry to other states.

"Mayroon silang (Kuwait) ganoong practice na i-ma-mark iyong passport mo, or i-ma-mark ka mismo as banned sa isang GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) country, and it will affect your entry in other states," he told the PNA.

At least 10,000 Filipinos were identified by the Kuwaiti authorities staying illegally in the Gulf state.

More than 5,000 of this number are still unregistered, said Sumagaysay.

Although the Kuwaiti amnesty would end on April 22, he explained that processing of exit documents takes 10 days hence the deadline was set on April 12.

"The Philippine Embassy to Kuwait, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, is urging all Filipinos to heed the appeal of President Rodrigo Duterte that if they want to come home to the Philippines, they should register before April 12, which is already tomorrow," he said.

The murder of Filipina domestic worker Joanna Demafelis, along with reported abuses of Filipino household workers in the Gulf state, had earlier pushed President Rodrigo R. Duterte to impose a total deployment ban of new Filipino workers to Kuwait.

With no agreement on overseas Filipino workers signed yet between Kuwait and the Philippines, word on when the ban will be lifted has not yet been announced. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency