In response to the call for assistance by the government in the repatriation of Filipino workers in Kuwait, Cebu Pacific Airlines and Philippine Airlines (PAL) brought back home more than 600 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who availed themselves of the amnesty program of the Kuwaiti government. The OFWs were flown back to Manila on a special chartered flight via Cebu Pacific and PAL last Wednesday morning.
Cebu Pacific flown back the largest group of OFWs repatriated from Kuwait in a single flight by any carrier, local or foreign. The airline deployed its Airbus A330 – the largest in its fleet – for the charter flight. The plane can carry 436 passengers.
President Rodrigo Duterte last week said OFWs in Kuwait who want to go home may be repatriated within the next 72 hours.
Last February 21, the chartered flight of Cebu Pacific made a touchdown in Manila arriving with 396 passengers in total, with full meals and baggage, all free and no cost to anyone.
When I’m working, emotions are off. The job’s gotta be done. But personally greeting 396 OFWs flown home from Kuwait – many of whom held my hand and said ‘thank you,’ – put a lump in my throat. This was truly enabling every Juan to fly,” mentioned Charo Logarta Lagamon, Corporate Communications Director, Cebu Pacific, on her social media account.
In related news, Duterte also called on Kuwait to stop the “inhumane treatment” of Filipinos there as he expressed dismay over the death of Filipina domestic worker Joanna Daniela Demafelis, whose body was found in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait.
According to recruitment consultant Manny Geslani, Duterte made good his threat to permanently ban Filipinos from working in Kuwait if one more death or a case of maltreatment reaches his office.
Geslani said there are more than 20,000 household service workers (HSWs) who have been issued visas and awaiting departure. The visas of these 20,000 HSWs may soon expire by the end of this month.
He said recruitment agencies may have to divert these workers to countries receiving HSWs like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and UAE. They are also facing financial losses owing the recent move by the government. Geslani added that as much as $1.3 billion in remittances may be lost if the government pushes through with a permanent deployment ban to Kuwait.
Over 270,000 documented OFWs are working in Kuwait.

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