MANILA — A total of 317 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Kuwait arrived in Manila on Monday.
They were repatriated by the government and came in two batches–220 onboard Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR 669 and 97 via Gulf Air flight GF 154.
President Rodrigo Duterte had instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to work on the OFWs’ repatriation, apparently because most of them were experiencing abuse.In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), 41-year old Amelia Montargo said she would never return to Kuwait for work.”It was so hard. I had no sleep, no day off,” she said.
Montargo was a domestic helper there since February 4, 2015.
She also cited that her employer had kept her visa and that she had only received two months worth of her salary for her six-months work.
“My employer is a Filipino, so there is TFC (The Filipino Channel) in the house. Thus, I became aware of the good news, that the government would help us come back home,” she shared.
She said she has been applying for assistance from the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait since last year.A mother of five from Palawan, Montargo said she is happy that the government did not just help them to come home, but also told them they would be given cash, which they could use as capital for a small business.However, she admitted that she still wants to work abroad.
“Because if I would just earn PHP5,000 monthly, for instance, that won’t be enough for my kids since I still need to send them to school,” she explained.According to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), each repatriated OFW from Kuwait would receive PHP5,000 cash, provided with temporary shelter, and assisted to go to their hometown. The OWWA would shoulder their transportation or airfare back to their provinces.
Also, OWWA staff present at the airport on Monday said the agency would provide PHP50,000 to repatriated OFWs, who would want to put up a business. They could get the PHP50,000 in OWWA regional offices.