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Monday, June 06, 2011

Ready evacuation plan for OFWs in Kuwait, group urges Aquino govt.


Citing recent political development in Kuwait, an overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) group in the Middle East Sunday urges the Philippine government to ready its evacuation plan in the event the political turmoil in the oil-rich gulf state escalates.


Yesterday, an estimated 3,000 protesters, mostly from the ranks of disgruntled Kuwaiti youth, staged a big demonstration calling for the removal of Kuwait's Prime minister.


"We are not simply ringing the bell for alarm. We would like the concerned government agencies to ready its plan in case the political turmoil in Kuwait escalates," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.


Monterona observed that what is developing in Kuwait political landscape right now is influence and have something to do with the so called 'Arab Spring' socially founded on the calls by the Arab people to effect political and economic reforms in most of the Arab states who have been ruled by monarchs or royal families for so long.


"With what is developing now in Kuwait political scene could be viewed a new addition to the 'Arab Spring'; if not handled with care by local political players, and then we could only expect this to escalate in the coming days," Monterona observed.


Thus, Monterona said it is prudent on the part of the PH government through its embassy in Kuwait to closely observe the political development in Kuwait and arrange now to ready its contingency plan in evacuating OFWs in the event the political turmoil in Kuwait escalates.


"There are around 50,000 OFWs in Kuwait, more than half of them are household service workers," Monterona added.


Monterona noted like in Syria and Yemen, the PH embassies are facing difficulty in arranging to repatriate our OFW-domestic workers because for one there is a need to ask permission from their employer-sponsor hoping that the latter may issue an exit clearance for its workers under the prevailing sponsorship rule by the host government.


"It requires early coordination and interface with the Filipino community in Kuwait, local agent's counterpart of Philippine-based agencies, the concerned host govt. agencies and the various airlines companies," Monterona added.


"We call on the Aquino administration through the concerned govt. agencies to ready its contingency or evacuation plan in Kuwait. Wait-and-see stance is a big No! -it has no place in securing the safety and the lives of our workers abroad," Monterona concluded.

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