45 Filipina domestic workers return home - GulfToday

45 Filipina domestic workers return home


The women wards at the Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 on Wednesday morning.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

The Philippine Consulate General in Dubai (PCGDXB) on Wednesday morning resumed the repatriation of visit visa holders in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic-related programme of the Duterte Administration.

This time, the 45 visit visa holders were women who had been sheltered at the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Al Qusais, Dubai (POLODXB), having run away from their respective employment as household service workers (HSWs) either in Dubai or in the other Northern Emirates.

They were among the many Filipinas who either on their own or were lured to work as HSWs but entered the country on a visit visa.

Thus, since they were on visit visas and undocumented with no trace of manpower agency to shoulder their repatriation expenses, it was the Philippine government through the Php1.5 billion (Dhs109,719,205.05) annual budget allocated to the Department of Foreign Affairs-Assistance to Nationals (ATN) Section which paid for their return tickets.

Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Paul Raymund Cortes and the PCGDXB staff assisted them at the Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 for their eight-hour 9:35 a.m. EK-334 flight to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City, Metro Manila.

On Tuesday, Labour Attache in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Felicitas Bay and POLODXB staff briefed the group on the arrival procedures as anti-COVID19 precautionary and quarantine protocols are enforced in all international and domestic ports in the Philippines.

Manila’s Department of Transportation and Communication had imposed a week-long suspension of international passenger flights from May 3 to May 10 with the goal to decongest all quarantine facilities within the National Capital Region of Metro Manila. An average of 2,000 a day overseas Filipinos, work-impacted by the global outbreak, have been returning home since April.

On the 45 women, Bay told Gulf Today their labour problems ranged from “overwork, health issues, insufficient food, and unpaid salaries.”

The average length of stay of the 45 at the POLODXB was 76 days brought about by the Philippines-UAE lockdown.

One of them was sheltered for 203 days “due to a case filed against her which was eventually resolved, another was at 183 days” while the shortest stay was 27 days.

While at POLODXB and until end of February, the 45 alongside other women wards took upgrading skills’ lessons namely “basic sewing, knitting, crochet, basic food handling and cooking, basic computer operations, and massage therapy in the hope that these would advance them in their re-mainstreaming in the Philippines.

“They likewise benefited from the seminars/workshops on vision boarding, values formation and women empowerment POLODXB had conducted in coordination with Filipino experts in the field,” volunteered Bay.

The 45 were expected to land in Metro Manila at approximately 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

Total women wards at POLODXB as of 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday were 87 from 132 minus the 45.

“Representatives from the DFA and (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) will meet them at the NAIA,” said Bay.

Meanwhile, at 1:10 p.m. on Wednesday, passed on to the Philippine Press WhatsApp Group was a notice from the Al Qadi Tourism LLC in Dubai: “As directed by the Philippine Government, all passenger flights are temporarily restricted from 15 May 2020 to 22 May 2020. Emirates, therefore has cancelled the following flights to Manila: EK 334 on 15/16/17/18/19/20/21/22 May 2020.”

Recently, a British student expressed her thanks and gratitude to the UAE for facilitating her reunion with her family who are residing in Abu Dhabi.

Eilidh Ashton, 19, was repatriated to Abu Dhabi after being stuck in Britain for more than a month.

In a statement after her arrival in Abu Dhabi from London, Ashton said she was born in the UAE, which is her home.

“I am very thankful for the government of UAE for bringing me back home to be with my family.’’

Christina Ashton, the mother of Eilidh, said she was glad and expressed her thanks and gratitude to the UAE leadership for helping her daughter come back to her.

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