by Ricky Laxa
The last chartered flight to Philippines departed Sunday morning with 228 Overseas Filipino
Workers (OFWs). Present in the airport to send off passengers were officials from the Embassy of the Philippines, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO).
Sol Al Failakawi, Administrative Officer and Translator from POLO and OWWA said that 99 passengers were arranged POLO OWWA and 30 by the Philippine Embassy, all of whom were on regular flights. The rest of the passengers were OFWs who have decided to return home for good and few have taken chances to return home due to emergency situations. There were no deportees in the flight. “Kuwait Airways hopefully opens its services in November and passengers can avail regular rates for passengers” stated Al Falakawi, Welfare Officer Atty. Llewelyn Perez added that the number of OFWs returning home for good have declined and such is a good sign that many if not majority have already assumed new jobs or have restarted with their work schedules.
Chartered flights to Philippines started in September and there have been 19 so far. The flights have been organized by the Philippine Embassy, POLO and OWWA to provide assistance and support to OFWs who have no financial capacity to return home. The flights also provided passage for deportees and women in shelter to undergo repatriation process. About 6,000 OFWs have returned to Philippines via “Mercy and normal flights”. OFWs have expressed gratitude to POLO, OWWA and Philippine Embassy for the efforts made to ensure their safe return to Philippines.
Till today there have been no update as to the status of the ban of 34 countries and that many OFWs currently still in the Philippines are hoping to return and resume their jobs.