MANILA –The government has provided assistance to 35 female overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who came home from Kuwait last week after experiencing various labor- and welfare-related issues with their respective employers.
“Our returning workers, who were household service workers in Kuwait, had their respective sad experiences, such as non-payment of salaries, maltreatment, and long working hours, among others,” Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) deputy administrator Brigido Dulay, who is in charge of the agency’s Repatriation Assistance Division, has said.
Upon their arrival, the women were registered under the Assist W.E.L.L. (Welfare, Employment, Legal and Livelihood) program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The OFW-returnees were also provided with airport assistance, and the release of their travel documents were facilitated by the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Immigration.
They were also given temporary accommodation at the OWWA Halfway Home for those who have no place to stay in Metro Manila, transportation fares, and transportation services in going to bus terminals onward to their respective provinces.
In terms of employment, the OFWs will be given job placement referrals for local employment through the Bureau of Local Employment, or an overseas work courtesy of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, as well as training opportunities under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
The women were also advised on the availability of livelihood assistance and programs offered by the National Reintegration Center for OFWs and loans through OWWA if they want to start a business.
Those who have legal issues and concerns with their agencies, such as non-payment of salaries, were provided with legal advice through the Single Entry Approach (SEnA).
Meanwhile, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Qatar is set to move next month to a new location to be more accessible to OFWs.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the new POLO office, which will be located in Al Jazeera Tower, West Bay in Doha, will “provide convenience to our nationals in availing of government services, as well as in raising their issues and concern that need immediate action and assistance”.
According to Labor Attaché in Qatar David Des, West Bay is where many Filipinos work and reside.
“Many Filipino expatriates, including community leaders, have hailed the move of POLO to shift to West Bay, as a welcome and necessary development in delivering government services,” he said in his report to Bello.
The current office along Al Furat St., Onaiza Area, Dafna will serve as the Migrant Workers and Other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center (MWOFRC), the central hub of welfare and assistance for migrant Filipinos, which can also be used as temporary shelter for OFWs in distress.