MANILA, Philippines — Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and low-cost airline Cebu Pacific have heeded President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s call to transport Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait who wish to be repatriated back to the Philippines, following the recent death of an OFW whose body was tracked down inside a freezer.
Mr. Duterte reached PAL and Cebu Pacific for the request on Friday, February 9, at a press conference in Davao, where the President himself expressed contempt over the death of a Filipina domestic worker later identified as Joana Daniela Demafelis, who was discovered inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait.
“So everyone who wants to come home, I said to Secretary Bello, those who want to be repatriated, with or without money, I will ask PAL and Cebu Pacific to provide the transportation,” President Rodrigo Duterte said in the news conference.
“I want them out of the country, those who want to go out in 72 hours,” the Philippine President added.
Cebu Pacific and PAL said on the following day, Saturday, February 10, that they will arrange a special charter flights from Kuwait back from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“Cebu Pacific is mounting a special charter flight from Kuwait to Manila for free. This is in response to the call for assistance by the government to repatriate Filipino workers in Kuwait.” Cebu Pacific said in a press statement that they are currently working with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait on the final travel settlements.
Cebu Pacific added that a special arrangements are being placed since the airline firm no longer have regular commercial air service between Manila and Kuwait.
Cebu Pacific will be deploying an Airbus A330 aircraft which has a maximum capacity of 436 travelers. These repatriated OFWs will also be providing free food and refreshments, as well as baggage allowance for all passengers on board the flight.
On the other hand, the flag carrier will be using their 363-seater Airbus A330.
Philippine Airlines said in a press statement that their officials are coordinating with the DFA, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait and Kuwaiti government authorities for the necessary document requirements.
“In the service of our ‘kababayans’ (countrymen), we will be ensuring their safe journey back to the Philippines. It is the flag carrier’s privilege to be of service to those in need. PAL is more than ready to mount extra flights to Kuwait, as needed,” Philippine Airlines said.
According to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), a total of 49 OFWs have arrived today from Kuwait via flight PR 669.
Meanwhile, the Philippines on Monday will announce a total ban on the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Sunday.
Bello earlier suspended the processing of new employment certificates for Kuwait-bound OFWs after the recent deaths of 7 migrant Filipino workers, including a Filipina whose body was unearthed in a freezer.
The suspension of the processing of new employment certificates for Kuwait-bound however was not enough for the President, who wanted to “send a strong message” through a total OFW deployment ban, said Labor Secretary Bello. — Centrio News (CentrioNews.com)