The Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Kuwait are now rushing to repatriate as many as 10,000 overstaying Filipinos who are expected to avail an amnesty program arranged with the Kuwaiti government, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said Monday. 80 per cent of these, around 8,000 are domestic workers.
Police who served an eviction notice at an apartment in Kuwait's Al-Shaab district stumbled on a grisly discovery - the remains of missing Filipina maid Joanna Daniela Demafelis stuffed inside a freezer.
Dado said Kuwait has a draft of the bilateral labor agreement but has not signed it yet, as he added that a positive development from recent events is that Kuwait would be made to negotiate from the strong position that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has taken on the issue. Demafelis' family members have sought the help of the Philippine government in the quest for justice for the victim.
'In pursuit of national interest, and with the advent of the series of reports involving abuse and death of overseas Filipino workers, a total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers pursuant to the directive of the president of the Philippines is hereby enforced, Administrative Order (AO) No54, series of 2018, stated.
As the Philippines started implementing the total ban, the first batch of 377 OFWs repatriated on three commercial flights from Kuwait arrived in Manila on Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
The ones now being repatriated are those who availed themselves of the amnesty program for overstaying Filipino nationals that the Kuwaiti government approved last month.
The Philippines has placed a deployment ban on migrant workers to Kuwait.
"We will also go after illegal recruiters, human traffickers and other modern-day slave traders who continue to victimize our people".
At present, DFA expects to repatriate around 10,000 Filipinos under the amnesty program.
To date, some 2,229 Filipinos have been issued travel documents, and 1,754 of them have been granted immigration clearances.
Earlier, Roque said: "Those who opt for repatriation from Kuwait will be given P5,000 financial assistance and a further P20,000 assistance for alternative livelihood".
He emphasized that Kuwait was obligated under global law to compensate victims of what the Philippines considered "horrendous crimes".
"Escalation does not serve the ties between Kuwait and the Philippines", Sheikh Sabah said, adding that 170,000 Filipinos "live a decent life in Kuwait. but separate accidents unfortunately happen, and we are providing our Filipino counterparts with the results of the investigations".
"We are here to see to it that every Filipino is treated decently", he said.