(December 13, 2016) 152 undocumented OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) in Kuwait have been repatriated to the Philippines on Monday on board the Philippine Airlines.
The return of the undocumented Pinoys is part of the ongoing mass repatriation of Filipinos overstaying in Kuwait. It is under the Assisted Voluntary Repatriation Program (AVRP) by the government of Kuwait, in collaboration with the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait. Since the program was implemented last year, this is the largest mass repatriation.
In addition, AVRP is a mutual agreement between the government of Kuwait and the Philippine Embassy in the said country. It seeks to solve the problem of the increasing number of illegal expatriates in Kuwait.
90 of the 152 repatriates were facilitated by the Philippine Embassy. On the other hand, 62 were from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO-OWWA) shelter. Renato Pedro Villa, Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait, thanked the Ministry of Interior, the Kuwait Immigration Department for the ongoing program, as well as for helping the Philippine embassy to successfully implement the AVRP.
There are some in the 152 repatriates who did not pass through the deportation center, or “Talha”. They were directly transported from the embassy shelter located in the Al Siddeeq area to the airport. They were then accompanied by the ATNU (Assistance to National Unity) team of the embassy, led by the newly appointed Vice Consul to Kuwait Charleson Hermosura and Philippine Welfare Officer Nestor Burayag, along with Kuwait Immigration officials who helped them at the airport check-in counter.
Most of the repatriated undocumented OFWs previously worked as Household Service Workers (HSWs). They left their employers after they have experienced several forms of abuse physically, verbally and sexually. Furthermore, they did not receive any salaries, insufficient food and overwork. The other undocumented Pinoys were repatriated as soon as their cases were cleared, thanks to the assistance of the Kuwait Ministry of Interior, and the embassy’s ATNU.
According to Hermosura, “The repatriation with no detention under the AVRP continues, hence, the Philippine embassy urged all undocumented OFWs in Kuwait to take advantage of this and go home to the Philippines. All those who want to go home may enlist at the embassy shelter in Al Siddeeq area for the processing of their travel documents and clearance and we will do all our best to help them,”. All the 152 repatriates were accompanied on their flight back to the Philippines by Jay Gaddi, ATNU staff of the Philippine Embassy