PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has continued to gain support from the business sector in his relentless efforts to provide the needed government service to Filipinos here or abroad.
The President’s decision for the repatriation of overseas Filipino Workers in Kuwait, triggered by the brutal death of a Filipina worker in that oil-rich country, immediately got positive response from the country’s airline industry.
Shortly after he declared a total ban in the deployment of Filipino workers in Kuwait and the immediate repatriation of thousands of OFWs in that country in 72 hours Friday night, wholly Filipino-owned and the country’s leading airline Cebu Pacific Air also announced the management’s decision to mount a special flight to Kuwait “to assist our kababayans who wish to be repatriated to the Philippines.”
In an official company statement, the airline vowed to mount a special charter flight from Kuwait to Manila for free in response to the call for assistance by the government to repatriate Filipino workers in that country.
“We are coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait on the airlift details and other travel arrangements…Special arrangements are being made since Cebu Pacific no longer has regular commercial air service between Manila and Kuwait,” the same statement said.
Cebu Pacific will be deploying an Airbus A330 aircraft—the largest in its fleet, for the charter flight. It has a maximum capacity of 436 passengers. The airline also vowed to provide free food and refreshment, as well as baggage allowance for all passengers on this charter.
President Duterte, expressing disgust over the death of Filipina domestic worker Joanna Daniela Demafelis, who was found in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait, called on the Kuwaiti government to stop “inhumane treatment” of Filipinos there.
The President appeared devastated as he showed during a press conference in Davao City Friday night a photo of Demafelis, who hails from Iloilo, whose body showed torture marks. He said there are indications she was strangled to death.
So far, 82 deaths have been reported in Kuwait in 2016 alone and this increased to 103 last year.
As he revealed this, President Duterte asked: “What we, in government, have been doing all these years to protect and give justice to our helpless sons and daughters, brothers and sisters? Sad to say, it seems that our government is inutile as our foreign workers are helpless in this present state of things. This is a national shame and yet we proclaim our OFWs the modern heroes of the republic. Our words and action simply do not match."
Well said, Mr. President. (For comments, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on February 12, 2018.
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