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PAL, Cebu Pacific to transport repatriated OFWs from Kuwait

15 February 2018

"A family becomes dysfunctional once a mother or father works overseas", said Duterte about sacrifices of Filipinos.

"Under the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, we are hoping that we could have more jobs".

Upon instructions by DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, the agency urged its counterparts to facilitate the early conclusion of a bilateral labor agreement on the protection of Filipino household service workers.

A DFA source said only Undersecretary Ernesto Abella is authorized to speak about the issue of repatriation from Kuwait.

Based on official government records, about 500,000 Filipinos are in Kuwait, and there are more than 3.5 million Filipinos scattered in the Middle East, officials said.

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Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and low-priced airline Cebu Pacific have heeded President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's call to transport Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait who wish to be repatriated back to the Philippines, following the recent death of an OFW whose body was tracked down inside a freezer.

Roque identified the two Arab countries as "more humane" host nations for Filipino workers, following President Duterte's decision to repatriate distressed workers from Kuwait.

"That (trip) is still being studied because we are waiting for signs from Kuwait government on how they will provide justice for our countrymen who were victims of abuses in Kuwait", he said.

Manila is now rushing the repatriation of an estimated 10,000 OFWs, however, the repatriation of these returning Filipinos were processed long before Duterte ordered the deployment ban.

Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed Administrative Order to totally ban the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait - where some 250,000 Filipinos are working primarily as domestic helpers - which took effect on Monday.

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Aside from PHP5,000, Roque said OFWs who voluntarily opt to be repatriated would receive an additional PHP20,000 as livelihood aid from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). These repatriated OFWs will also be providing free food and refreshments, as well as baggage allowance for all passengers on board the flight.

PAL Spokesman Cielo Villaluna said four flights are lined up from Kuwait to Manila this week, starting with PR669 departing Kuwait on 13 February (Tuesday) at 4 p.m. and arriving in Manila at 6:40 a.m. on Wednesday. Likewise, Cebu Pacific (CEB) is mounting a special charter flight from Kuwait to Manila for free. 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.

Bello, meantime, revealed the creation of a task force, led by Usec.

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PAL, Cebu Pacific to transport repatriated OFWs from Kuwait