Kuwait City: Philippines Vice President Jejomar Binay has promised distressed domestic helpers seeking refuge at the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC) in Kuwait that he will ensure their return home soon.
The pledge for the general help was made as Binay, in Kuwait to represent the Philippines President during the celebration of the country's national occasions, revealed that 79 distressed Filipinos would be repatriated within the next few days, after their air fares were paid by the Philippine government.
Binay, former senator Kit Tatad, officials of the embassy, Philippine Overseas Labour Office officials and Filipino domestic helpers met on Sunday in Kuwait City where they attended a celebration of the Holy Mass at FWRC, Kuwait Tribune reported on Tuesday.
The celebration was followed by a dinner and an open conversation between the Vice President and distressed workers.
Binay said that the Philippine government would make sure that their repatriation tops its agenda and that with the assistance of the Philippine embassy and relevant associations in Kuwait will speed up the repatriation process.
Binay said that Filipinos facing legal cases, filed either by employers or by the workers, will need to clear them to be able to return home.
"The Philippines government is a giving and caring government and your safety and welfare are our outmost priorities. The government has also issued directives that repatriated workers will be able to avail a livelihood programme to lift their status and be able to search for better employment rather than being domestic helpers," Binay said, quoted by the Kuwaiti daily.
In an interview with Al Watan, Binay did not comment on the Orbistondo's case, a Filipino in jail for drug case for the past 15 years, and the current status of Jakatia Pawa and Bienvenido Espino, who are facing death sentence for reasons of sensitivity. However, he said that the Philippines is hopeful that after his trip to China, the Chinese government will pass life sentence instead of death to three Filipino nationals engaged in drug trafficking. He disclosed that there are 220 Filipinos languishing in Chinese jails for similar cases.
Binay's visit included a meeting with Iman Erieqat, the Head of the International Organization for Migration Office in Kuwait, who informed Binay that IOM's regional office in Cairo is coordinating with the Philippines embassy to provide healthcare, food and other basic needs to Filipinos caught in the middle of the violent conflict in Libya.
Erieqat told Binay that IOM would extend assistance to OFWs in Libya for humanitarian purposes.
The vice president will also seek assistance from Saudi Arabia and UAE to allow the safe passage to Filipinos fleeing the Libya's drama.