after.unrest

MANILA — More Filipino workers from Egypt continue to return home even as tension has already subsided after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (photo above) resigned.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) reported that the third batch of 36 Filipino workers arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from Egypt.

OWWA administrator Carmelita Dimzon said the group composed of 30 women, three men, and three minors arrived on board EK 332 from Cairo, Egypt.

Dimzon said the OWWA repatriation unit assisted the third batch in clearing customs and immigration procedures at NAIA.

They would stay at the OWWA Halfway House until they could make transport arrangements back to their home provinces.

Dimzon said OWWA also offered the returning Filipino workers a chance to undergo post-trauma stress debriefings and to avail of livelihood packages available from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Many Filipinos that were repatriated from Egypt want to go back to their foreign employers now that the political tension has subsided.

Dimzon said only six of 93 repatriates have opted to take the agency’s offer of P15,000 in livelihood assistance and skills training.

“We are offering them varied options, including to stay for good and set up their own business but they told us that they are still weighing things,” Dimzon said.

“Some of them said they still have relatives there and employment waiting for them.”

Dimzon said she spoke to the children of the returning OFWs and they appeared “terrified, and this could be the primary reason why their mothers who are working there opted to return home.”

The repatriated workers, on the other hand, were not too traumatized by the political violence that gripped Egypt for more than two weeks.

“Probably because they were not really involved in the uprising,” Dimzon said.

There are an estimated 6,000 Filipinos in Egypt, most of them nurses or domestic helpers.

Dimzon said the government still has sufficient funds to repatriate Filipino workers.

Some of those who have already registered are having second thoughts because the situation in Egypt has already improved after its president of 30 years, Hosni Mubarak, stepped down.

Meanwhile, Migrante International urged President Benigno Aquino III to help repatriate distressed and detained Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia.

Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said there are 48 workers who are still detained in a Riyadh jail.

Monterona reiterated his earlier call to the Philippine Embassy-Assistance to the Nationals Section (ANS) to look into the claims of jailed Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia that they have been beaten up by Arabian jail guards.

He said one of the detained workers, identified as Farouq Hadji Malik Bayabao, claimed that jail guards have beaten up detainees.