Ex-OFW in Kuwait urges PH gov: bring home remaining Pinoys in shelter

Manila, Philippines – A former overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) has called before the Philippine government anew to repatriate the remaining OFWs who continue to stay in government shelters noting of their dire conditions.

This is following the case of Jullebee Ranara who was brutally murdered and burned. The 17-year-old son of her employer in Kuwait was named as suspect for the case is already under Kuwaiti police custody.

In Saturday’s press conference by Migrante Philippines streamed live on Facebook, Rechilda Dioneda, a repatriated OFW in Kuwait and member of the Samahan ng mga DH sa Gitnang Silangan recounted her experience staying in a government shelter, saying that the shelter she stayed at is dirty.

There’s not enough food, room and beddings and they also drank water from the toilet’s faucet. Many OFWs staying there also got sick even as she claimed Philippine Embassy officials in Kuwait also do not visit and monitor them and they only visit “when someone is scheduled to fly back home.”

While the government reported that 420 OFWs remain in its shelters in Kuwait, many more of them were staying in Kuwaiti shelters and are not being recorded by the government.

“I hope that our government will wake up to what is happening and immediately send home the OFWs who are in the shelter. Our government does not take care of them,” she said, contrary to government’s claims that OFWs in said shelters are always sent home.

“But it’s only a select few and only a few of them get to go home,” Dioneda added.

Migrante Philippines chairperson Arman Hernando said that based on OFW accounts, at least 2,000 others remain in Kuwaiti government shelters, deportation centers and other facilities. They wanted to return home but they can’t “due to the Philippine government’s slow action and lack of coordination with Kuwaiti government.”

Adding to that is the government’s failure to push recruitment agencies to take care of OFWs.

“Many of our OFWs want to be with their families but at the hands of a negligent government process they remain in the country of Kuwait. But this is not an isolated case in Kuwait and the Middle East countries,” Hernando said speaking in Filipino.

Still, some OFWs who were fortunate enough to return home complained about the lack of government assistance.

Sally – a repatriated OFW from Kuwait and also a victim of abuse – said she has not received even a peso from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

“I was beaten by the boss, didn’t get paid, went home with nothing,” she said, speaking at Migrante’s press conference.

Dioneda likewise appealed before Philippine government to take action and hold into account those responsible for the murder of Jullebee, whom she described as an exemplary mother who only dreamt of giving her family a good life.

“The government should take action to make her negligent agency and the person who did this to her accountable. I hope the government doesn’t sleep. Please take action on our call so that not another (OFW) like  Jullebee Ranara will come home as a corpse,” she stressed.

On Saturday, the Department of Migrant Workers said they are planning to file a recruitment violation case against recruitment agencies that were involved in the hiring of Jullebee Ranara, citing the said companies’ supposed lapses in monitoring her status.