July 18, 2018 at 11:00 pm
Rey E. Requejo
The Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday announced that 51 distressed overseas Filipino workers have been repatriated from the United Arab Emirates Wednesday, bringing to 702 the total number of Filipinos who were repatriated from UAE this year.
“We welcome home the latest batch of repatriates from Abu Dhabi who, sadly, fell prey to illegal recruiters,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement issued after the arrival of the repatriates.
Cayetano said that the repatriation was part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for the DFA and other concerned government agencies to assist Filipinos wherever they are in the world.
Cayetano said the DFA shouldered the cost of the repatriation, including the exit visas and the airfare to the provinces of the distressed workers, using the Assistance to Nationals Fund.
Upon arrival, the repatriates were assisted by officers from the DFA’s Office of Migrant Workers Affairs.
Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi Charge d’ Affaires Rowena Pangilinan-Daquipil said the 51 arrived in the UAE as tourists, found work but eventually left their sponsors or agencies due to maltreatment, abuse, and non-payment of salaries, among others.
However, Daquipil said they expect these kinds of problems to go away, especially since the embassy has been working side-by-side with UAE authorities to address the concerns of overseas Filipinos, especially Household Service Workers.
“With the signing of the UAE Law for Domestic Workers and the Philippines-UAE Memorandum of Understanding on Labor Cooperation in 2017, the Embassy hopes that incidents of abuse, maltreatment, detention, and other complaints by Filipino domestic workers will drop significantly,” she said.
Besides, she said the UAE has also implemented measures to ensure the rights of Filipino domestic workers in the Middle East country are protected, including in cases such as transferring jurisdiction of HSWs from the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, allowing Filipino domestic workers rights on dispute resolution, the opening of Tadbeer Centers that will conduct the recruitment of expatriate workers in the UAE and assuring Filipinos that will enjoy protection mandated by the new UAE Law for Domestic Workers.
DFA data showed there are around 626,000 Filipinos living and working in the UAE, of which 217,000 can be found in Abu Dhabi.