DFA repatriates 175 more Filipinos under Kuwait amnesty on April 18

KUWAIT The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is repatriating 175 more Filipinos Wednesday (April 18) under the amnesty program extended by the Kuwaiti government to the Philippines.

They will arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on board Qatar Airways flight QR 934, with estimated time of arrival at 6:15 a.m. (Manila time) on April 19.

Of the 175 repatriates, 18 are infants, DFA said.

On Monday, April 16, the Philippine Embassy bought more than 200 plane tickets for those who availed themselves the amnesty.

Raul Dado, executive director for DFA-Office of Migrant Workers Affairs, said only 191 of them arrived in Manila on Tuesday, nine did not show up, and one infant offloaded en route Kuwait International Airport.

Earlier, DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said the agency is pushing to repatriate all those who just recently registered at the amnesty program on or before April 22.

The registration period was originally set by the Philippine Embassy on April 12, who reasoned that processing of travel and exit documents takes no less than ten days to complete.

Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa said the Kuwaiti government just this week officially set the deadline for all application submission on April 19.

He said the crackdown would start on April 23.

A chance for a new life

For Mark and Aiza (not their real names), Kuwait's amnesty and the repatriation program of the Philippine government served as "sign" to start a new life.

Mark has been working as a bartender at the Gulf state for 17 years, until he got caught in a conflict with his sponsor, who allegedly framed him, in the past three years. During this period, he was left undocumented and at risk of arrest.

With the amnesty that served as a "sign" to start anew, Mark said he decided to come home.

"Inisip ko na rin yung kapakanan ng anak ko, kasi pagkatapos ng amnesty, magkakaroon na ng crackdown ang Kuwait, mahirap nang ipagsapalaran yung buhay naming mag-ama rito [I thought of my child's welfare. There will be crackdown after the amnesty. It would be difficult to stay and live here]," he said in an interview.

Mark and his daughter were among the repatriates who arrived in Manila on Tuesday (April 17).

"Kaloob na rin siguro ng Panginoon na maka-uwi kaming mag-ama [It is perhaps God's will that we get back home]," he added.

This was the same sentiment of Aiza, who had been working in Kuwait for nine years as a household worker. The Filipina said she wanted to start her life over again after she birthed her child in the Gulf state a year ago.

With one more mouth to feed and allegedly overworked under the hands of her employer, Aida said the amnesty and the repatriation were welcome opportunities she has been waiting for.

"Mag-i-i-stay na ako sa Pilipinas after nito... para na rin sa anak ko [I will stay in the Philippines for my child]," she said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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