300 distressed OFWs in Kuwait to be repatriated this January

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MANILA – The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is eyeing to bring home at least 300 of the 421 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait this month.

DMW Undersecretary for Foreign Employment and Welfare Services Hans Cacdac, Overseas Workers Welfare Administrator Arnell Ignacio and Social Welfare Attaché Bernard Bonino are currently in Kuwait to check on the OFWs staying at the government-run Bahay Kalinga shelter.

“Of the 421, we are looking at the possibility of repatriating about 300 at the most in the next two weeks,” Cacdac said during Monday’s online press briefing quoted by Philippine News Agency.

Initially, 100 returnees will go home with the DMW team on Tuesday afternoon.

Cacdac said they are also looking at the possibility of a temporary second shelter to decongest Bahay Kalinga while planning for a bigger site.

Bahay Kalinga can accommodate between 250 and 300.

“There are many of them in the shelter so we would like to immediately provide solutions by finding temporary shelters or relocation and permanent shelters),” the DMW official said.

Earlier, DMW Secretary Susan Ople has ordered Cacdac to ensure that distressed OFWs are provided with proper assistance and medical care.

“Make sure that there is a full-time staff to take care of the needs of our OFWs there. There should be a medical staff to focus on those who are sick and experiencing depression,” Ople told Cacdac.

Cacdac said Kuwaiti authorities, whom they met on Sunday, assured quick processing of clearances.

The DMW officials also discussed with immigration authorities on Monday the issuance of exit visas.

Since DMW’s focus is on the welfare and protection of OFWs, Cacdac said they are looking at some legal actions that may be filed against erring employers, like cases of non-payment of salary or incomplete wages.

“We will definitely endorse legal actions in certain situations,” Usec Cacdac said.