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More Kuwait OFWs return; TESDA assures assistance

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By Roy C. Mabasa, Dhel Nazario, Leslie Ann G. Aquino

One hundred seventy-seven overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, household service workers, were repatriated and arrived in Manila Sunday.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the latest batch of repatriated OFWs,  availed of the Kuwaiti government’s amnesty program. Some 1,700 have so far been repatriated.

As this developed, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) vowed to extend assistance to the OFWs through free skills training while the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People on Sunday called on the faithful to always pray for the safety of overseas Filipino workers.

Back from Kuwait

Many of the returning OFWs from Kuwait are victims of illegal recruitment who entered Kuwait through neighboring countries.

The DFA said the repatriated OFWs will be leaving for their home provinces after receiving R5,000 each in financial assistance from the DFA.

Many of them expressed interest in seeking employment opportunities in countries other than those in the Middle East.

The DFA continues to negotiate with the Kuwaiti government for an extension of the amnesty program which will allow undocumented OFWs to process the documents that they need to work legally in Kuwait.

Skills training

TESDA assured that returning OFWs from Kuwait that they can enrol for free in technical-vocational (tech-voc) courses offered by the agency.

TESDA Director General Guiling Mamondiong has directed officials to prioritize the OFWs from Kuwait for training programs being offered by the TESDA Technology Institutions (TTI).

He also ordered the regional/provincial/district directors and TTIs to seek out and contact the returning OFWs in their respective areas, in coordination with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) so that they could receive immediate assistance.

“The beneficiaries shall be entitled to the following: free training; free assessment; training support fund (TSF),” Mamondiong said.

Prayers for OFWs

CBCP-ECMI chairman Bishop Ruperto Santos called for prayers for OFWs during the observance of the National Migrants Sunday.

“Let us pray always for them that our God watch over them, keep them safe and spare them from sickness and accident,” the Balanga prelate said in a statement.

“In their places and travels, we pray that they may find good employers and decent jobs,” added Santos.

The ECMI head said he is also praying that the rights and dignity of OFWs will always be respected.

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