At least 32 distressed Filipino expats, who reportedly suffered various forms of abuse from their employers, were repatriated back home by the Philippine Consulate in Dubai on the Eid Al Adha day.
The consulate shouldered the cost of the repatriation and the number of repatriated Filipinos from January to June this year has reached a total of 1,356, up from the 974 repatriated Filipino expats in the same period last year, according to Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes.
Philippine Labour Attaché to Dubai and Northern Emirates Felicitas Bay added the repatriated Filipinos were temporarily sheltered at the Migrant Workers and other Overseas Filipinos Resource Centre (MWOFRC) run by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Dubai (Polo-Dubai).
"Polo-Dubai has a number of trainings and other interventions for Filipinos sheltered therein. The shelter was not only their temporary home but also a centre which enhanced their skills. We help and guide people change their life for the better," Bay told Khaleej Times.
Bay said Polo-Dubai has been continuously conducting several skill-enhancement trainings, including basic computer operations, sewing, knitting, soap making, garments printing, baking, basic and intermediate care giver course, massage therapy as well as financial literacy and entrepreneurial workshop, values formation and seminar on women empowerment.
According to Polo-Dubai, the MWOFRC has sheltered a total of 1,737 women from January to June 2019, and has discharged and resolved the cases of around 82 per cent or 1,419 of them.
Polo-Dubai also noted that 99.41 per cent of those who sought refuge at the MWOFRC entered the UAE on tourist visa. Most of them stayed for a few days and decided to run away from their employers or agencies after experiencing abuse. Only a few of them were able to change their visa to employment.
Out of the 1,737 women, seven per cent were below 25 years (with the youngest at 21); 87 per cent were between 26 and 40 years old; and six per cent were 41 and above (with the oldest at 55). The average age of the women was 34.
Majority or 86 per cent of the women ran away due to alleged maltreatment - they were overworked, given no food, and experienced verbal or physical abuse - while five per cent have unpaid salaries and the rest had medical problems and other labour cases.
Bay noted that the women received social services and were provided medical assistance through the medical missions conducted every month as well as counselling services by trained counsellors and educators. They also attended spiritual programmes. The Philippine labour attaché also noted that several reintegration programmes were held before the Filipino expatriates returned home.
In the first six months this year, a total of 346 Filipino wards at the MWOFRC were recommended to avail of scholarship and training programmes at the Philippine Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
A total of 1,062 Filipinos were introduced to livelihood programmes while 412 were endorsed to the Social Welfare Attaché for referral to social and reintegration services.
Bay also noted that one of the 32 previously repatriated Filipinos was endorsed to work as a public school teacher in the Philippines.
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