Cebu Pacific, PAL to ferry OFWs home from Kuwait

Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines on Saturday said it would send one of its planes to Kuwait to fly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there who want to return to the Philippines.

Cebu Pacific said it is already coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait on travel arrangements for OFWs who wish to be repatriated.

“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,” the airline said in a statement.

“Special arrangements are being made since Cebu Pacific no longer has regular commercial air service between Manila and Kuwait.”

Cebu Pacific said it will be deploying a 436-seater plane and will provide food and refreshment, and baggage allowance for all passengers.

This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he would ask local airlines to help in repatriation efforts in the wake of recent deaths of Filipinos in Kuwait.

On the same day, Duterte ordered Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to facilitate the repatriation within 72 hours.

More than 800 undocumented OFWs in Kuwait are scheduled to go home, the DFA said. They will be repatriated in batches from Sunday to Tuesday.

Last year, 103 OFW deaths were recorded in Kuwait, up from 2016 figures at 82.

Also, Philippine Airlines said it would send a plane to Kuwait to bring home distressed OFWs.

In a statement, the flag carrier said it is also willing to add extra flights to Kuwait.

“PAL is more than ready to mount extra flights to Kuwait, as needed. In addition to the special flights, PAL has been repatriating OFWs using its four weekly Kuwait-Manila regular flights over the past few months. Many OFWs have already reserved seats on regular PAL flights for the coming days,” the statement read.

The airline said it will send a 363-seater plane and is coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs to repatriate the migrant workers. (ABS-CBN News)

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