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105 undocumented OFWs repatriated from UAE

Published November 1, 2017 2:08pm A total of 105 OFWs arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Wednesday after spending years being undocumented in the United Arab Emirates, GMA News' Trisha Zafra reported on Balitanghali.


The OFWs who arrived via Philippine Airlines flight no. PR657 were victims of illegal recruitment or were abused by their employers while working in Abu Dhabi.

Sara Arriola, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, said this was the biggest batch of distressed OFWs repatriated in 2017 under the Balik Pilipinas, Balik Kabuhayan program.

Prior to this, 700 OFWs with similar cases were sent home in batches from Abu Dhabi.

Each OFW will receive $100 in immediate cash assistance and may apply for a P15,000 livelihood assistance grant as part of the government's reintegration program.

According to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, there are 120 other distressed OFWs left at the POLO shelter in Abu Dhabi that they are trying to repatriate before the holiday season.

Most of the repatriates were forced to seek overseas employment through illegal recruiters to help their families, and were underpaid and overworked once they arrived in the Middle East.

OFWs had to escape their employers and seek refuge with the Abu Dhabi Philippine Overseas Labor Office, where most had to wait for years before they were repatriated.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and OWWA sponsored the flights of the OFWs.

Both agencies are ready to coordinate with other government agencies to bring the OFWs' recruiters to justice should they choose to pursue legal action. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News


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