Philippines

Duterte thanks PAL, CebPac for helping OFWs in Kuwait

Duterte thanks PAL, CebPac for helping OFWs in Kuwait

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday thanked flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific Air for helping the government in the repatriation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from Kuwait.

“I’d like to say to Mr. Lucio Tan and the Gokongwei family, Lance. In behalf of our countrymen, thank you and I will remember you for all time,” President Duterte said in his speech as he welcomed a batch of 127 Filipinos from Kuwait at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

Duterte also expressed appreciation to Tan, chairman and chief executive officer of PAL, for donating PHP2 million for government soldiers during the five-month Marawi conflict last year.

“Lucio Tan, you’re paid already. On several occasions, you gave a lot of help, in Marawi. I really appreciate you and your family,” Duterte said.

President Duterte promised that Tan will no longer hear tirades from him.

“Don’t you worry, no more harassment from my government whether we are allies or not in politics. Just do the right thing and I will do the right thing and we will be all right.

Last year, President Duterte hurled rants against the Filipino-Chinese tycoon for not paying PHP6 billion worth of accumulated navigational fees and other charges which PAL had eventually settled with the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“Because of this incident, Mr. Lucio Tan, I’m going to shut up forever,” the President said.

President Duterte said he received another phone call from Tan last Monday informing him that PAL will provide another plane to repatriate more Filipinos from Kuwait.

The 127 repatriated OFWs were among those who availed of amnesty granted by the Kuwaiti government.

Last week, President Duterte ordered total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers in Kuwait amid reports of maltreatment and abuses committed against Filipinos including a migrant Filipina worker whose body was found in a freezer.

Duterte also directed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to bring home distressed OFWs from Kuwait within 72 hours.

Duterte assured the returning OFWs of government’s financial and livelihood assistance.

“Welcome home. I’m happy that you returned home alive and in good spirits,” he told the Filipino workers.

The President, assisted by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello, led the ceremonial distribution of PHP5,000 emergency cash assistance to each of the OFWs.

DOLE said more than 2,200 OFWs from Kuwait wanted to go home.There are 250,000 Filipinos in Kuwait. (PNA)

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