MANILA — A total of 253 Filipino nationals have been repatriated from Kuwait on Thursday through a humanitarian flight arranged by the Kuwait government and the Philippine Embassy.
The Filipino repatriates who arrived at around 3 a.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport are composed of 179 distressed domestic workers; 39 former detainees at Talha Deportation Center, Sulaibiya Central Jail, and other detention facilities in Kuwait; 34 Filipinos who encountered various employment-related problems; and one infant.
“The humanitarian flight of 253 OFWs in Kuwait is a testament to the enduring friendship between the Philippines and Kuwait. On behalf of the Philippine government and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), I thank the Kuwaiti government and Kuwait Airways for this generous gesture to our distressed kababayan,” Consul General to Kuwait Mohd. Noordin Pendosina Lomondot said in a statement.
Chargé d’Affaires Charleson Hermosura lauded Kuwait for fast-tracking the immigration and repatriation procedures as a way to reduce the risk of a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak in Kuwait’s usually crowded detention facilities and shelter.
Hermosura said the humanitarian flight was initially arranged for March 21 but was rescheduled to March 25, which allowed the Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Kuwait to maximize the capacity of Kuwait Airways Boeing 777 aircraft and accommodate more Filipinos to the flight.
The embassy facilitated the mass repatriation and settled the pending cases as well as the exit clearance of the Filipino nationals.
The repatriates were welcomed by representatives from the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Health, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Immigration, and Manila International Airport Authority.
All 253 Filipinos underwent the appropriate medical protocols and check-up at the airport as required by the DOH Bureau of Quarantine.
The repatriates were reminded further to observe strict home quarantine for 14 days, the DFA said.
Upon arrival, the repatriates were provided with transportation to their destinations in Metro Manila and provinces in Luzon while those who could not yet return home due to the community quarantine in Metro Manila were provided with temporary shelter.
Kuwait has recently imposed various measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, including the closure of government offices, schools, and non-essential businesses in Kuwait; the suspension of commercial flights to and from the country’s main airport; and the imposition of an 11-hour daily curfew. (ia/PNA)