By Arjay L. Balinbin
President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday, Feb.13, welcomed 116 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW’s) from Kuwait.
The OFWs, who signed up for the Kuwaiti government’s amnesty program, received P15,000 financial assistance and packs of grocery items from the Philippine government.
Presidential Spokesperson Herminio Harry L. Roque, Jr. told reporters in a press briefing last Monday, Feb. 12, that those OFWs who opted for repatriation from Kuwait will receive “a further P20,000 assistance for alternative livelihood.”
The President was joined by Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) representatives.
OWWA also reported that there are 22 Filipinos currently detained in Kuwait for criminal cases.
Aside from transportation assistance, the government is also providing the repatriates with temporary accommodation at the OWWA Halfway Home.
In his speech, Mr.Duterte hinted that China could be considered as an alternative destination for the displaced OFWs from Kuwait, saying “China needs Filipinos to teach them English.”
He pointed out that he cannot accept the abuses committed against Filipinos in Kuwait. “Come home, with or without money. I hope they listen,” he said.
The President also thanked the Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific for their help. “I’d like to just say to Mr. Lucio Tan and the Gokongwei family, si Lance, on behalf of my countrymen, salamat po.”
“We are doing this in the spirit of being a Filipino,” Mr. Duterte also said.