Ople sends ranking officials to Kuwait to assess state of government-run shelter, conditions of distressed OFWs

Manila, Philippines – Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople has dispatched a high-level team to Kuwait to look into the living conditions of distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) currently housed in a government-run shelter.

The team, led by Undersecretary for Foreign Employment and Welfare Services Hans Cacdac, arrived in Kuwait Saturday.

The DMW Secretary decided to send the team of ranking DMW officials after seeing for herself the living conditions of OFWs currently staying at the shelter in Kuwait via a virtual inspection.

There are a little more than 400 distressed OFWs currently residing in the “Bahay Kalinga” shelter in Kuwait.

The Secretary met with Cacdac before his departure Friday, and she gave instructions to ensure that distressed OFWs at the shelter are provided with proper assistance and medical care.

“First order of business ay dalawin ang shelter. Tiyakin na may full time staff na mag-aasikaso sa pangangailangan ng ating mga OFWs doon. Dapat may mga medical staff na tututok sa mga maysakit at nakakaranas ng depresyon,” Ople told Cacdac.

She also stressed the importance of maintaining secure and habitable shelters for OFWs.

“Mahalaga na very humane, dignified, comfortable and safe ang shelters na ating temporary residences for our distressed OFWs across the globe,” Ople said.

Aside from Cacdac, the high-level team includes Administrator Arnell Ignacio of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), an attached agency of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), and Social Welfare Attaché Bernard Bonino.

The DMW is tapping the Social Welfare Attaches of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) who are now part of the department for their expertise on how to upgrade the shelters overseas.

Shelters are currently being run by the Migrant Workers Offices (MWOs), formerly known as Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs).

Ople said the DMW intends to relocate its shelters to new and larger facilities that can provide a more comfortable and safe environment for its OFW residents.