Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and low-priced airline Cebu Pacific have heeded President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's call to transport Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait who wish to be repatriated back to the Philippines, following the recent death of an OFW whose body was tracked down inside a freezer.
Cebu Pacific said in a press statement that they are now working with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait on the final travel settlements.
A DFA source said only Undersecretary Ernesto Abella is authorized to speak about the issue of repatriation from Kuwait.
Twenty-five distressed overseas Filipino workers from Kuwait arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport yesterday morning.
The Philippines also sends skilled workers to Kuwait.
In a statement, Cebu Pacific (CEB) said it is mounting "a special charter flight from Kuwait to Manila FOR FREE".
Cebu Pacific will be deploying an Airbus A330 aircraft which has a maximum capacity of 436 travelers.
They were repatriated by the government and came in two batches-220 onboard Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR 669 and 97 via Gulf Air flight GF 154.
PAL said it will be utilizing its 363 - seater Airbus A330.
"Do not give us back a battered worker or a mutilated corpse". It is the flag carrier's privilege to be of service to those in need.
The Philippines will ask its private airlines to evacuate its nationals from Kuwait within 72 hours after the discovery of a Filipino migrant worker dead in a freezer, the latest in what Manila calls a pattern of abuse in the Gulf state.
"With the advent of the series of reports involving abuses and deaths of overseas Filipino workers in Kuwait, a total ban on deployment of all overseas workers ... is hereby enforced", Mr Bello said, reading an order.
According to data gathered by support groups for OFWs, at least 120 Filipino workers were reported to have died in Kuwait in 2017, many of them simply listed as "suicides".
Labour secretary Silvestre Bello on Monday announced a "total ban" on new employment in Kuwait, including Filipinos who had already obtained employment permits but had not yet left for the country.