Senators to pursue assistance for distressed OFWs in Kuwait

Senators are seeking assistance for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who will be sent home from Kuwait.

“Bukod sa pagsiguro sa kanilang kaligtasan, dapat ay may trabaho at tulong pangkabuhayan na naghihintay para sa ating mga kababayan mula sa Kuwait,” Senator Sonny Angara said in a press release.

This is after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silverstre Bello to repatriate distressed OFWs in 72 hours, following the incident of a Filipina worker fund dead inside a freezer in Kuwait.

Angara, one of the sponsors of the law governing the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) signed in 2016, said the government should strengthen its job creation programs.

“Kung may sapat na trabaho sa bansa, hindi na nila kailangang magtrabaho abroad at iwan ang kanilang pamilya,” Angara said.

Detained Senator Leila de Lima also called on the Labor and Foreign Affairs departments to provide assistance.

“The government should ensure that OFWs would be assisted in finding decent jobs back home or other overseas destinations, if not help them set up business and livelihood in the country,” she added.

While also concerned about OFWs welfare in Kuwait, Senator Kiko Pangilinan believed that it should be the last resort.

“Madali kasing sabihing itigil eh. Eh iyan ang kumikita para sa mga pamilya nila at mga mahal nila sa buhay,” Pangilinan said in a radio interview.
Pangilinan stressed that the government should sit with a discussion with Kuwait official on how to better protect Filipino workers there.

“Maybe we should precisely figure out a mechanism na kung saan magkakaroon ng paraan na ang ating gobyerno ay takbuhan ng ating mga kababayan,” Pangilinan added.

Senator Win Gatchalian shared the same sentiments, adding the government should stop sending OFWs in countries where there are no laws for the protection of migrant workers.

Kuwait is a top destination for Filipino workers. The latest data from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration show there are some 86,019 Filipinos in the country as of 2015.

Considered as one of the top destination for Filipino workers, Kuwait has an estimated 86,019 OFWs as of 2015, according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

According to DOLE, a Memorandum of Understanding which exudes on additional protection for Filipino workers has been waiting to be signed by the Kuwait government since 2015.