Some 315 Overseas Filipino Workers in Kuwait were repatriated to the Philippines on Sunday night on board a Kuwait Airways chartered flight as part of the initiative of the Philippine Embassy to help Filipinos in Kuwait who have been displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic and wanted to go back home to the Philippines.
Most of the repatriates had ended their work contracts while others were terminated from work as a result of the pandemic. Some of the tickets were shouldered by their respective companies while others paid for their tickets individually to be able to go home.
The Philippine Embassy facilitated in securing the flight clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines through the help of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila to allow the chartered Kuwait Airways flight to land at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as the number of arrivals per day has been limited as part of the precautionary measures of the Philippine government to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“This is the first batch of repatriates and the second batch will be flying off on July 1. It has reached to the Embassy’s attention that there are a lot of Filipinos in Kuwait who have bought tickets in April and May and can’t fly home as airline companies had to cancel flights for not being able to secure flight clearance, that’s why, the embassy stepped in to help,” explained Philippine Charge d’ Affaires Mohd Noordin Pendosina Lomondot who was at the Kuwait Airways Terminal 4 yesterday to see the Filipinos off.
Spotted also at the airport were Vice-Consul Adrian Baccay, Assistant Labour Attache Cathrine Duladol, Welfare Officers Atty Llewelyn Perez and Genevieve Ardiente as well as other embassy and POLO-OWWA staff. Lomondot called on those Filipinos who have purchased air tickets but are stranded till now due to repeated flight cancellations to contact the Philippine Embassy for assistance.
“We will try to group all those with tickets and put them together in one flight,” he pointed out. Thousands of Filipinos have been displaced due to the pandemic and some of them want to go home but have no money to buy their tickets.
Some have appealed to the Philippine Embassy for help. “We are looking into this and we have already conveyed this to our home office in Manila to help repatriate our displaced workers.
We are just waiting for the approval to have this ‘mercy flight’ for all our Filipino nationals who want to go home and we will take care of their tickets. We will do our best to help them. We will announce it as soon as we get the approval,” assured Lomondot.