By Gabriela Baron
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in Lebanon have been given until Sunday, December 15, to sign up for free repatriation to the Philippines.
The Philippine Embassy in Lebanon announced that OFWs may proceed to the embassy and submit the following documents:
* photocopy of passport or birth certificate
* photocopy of marriage contract
* 6 copies of 2×2 ID photo
* photocopy of birth certificate of children (with English translation)
Earlier, Agence France-Presse reported that hundreds of Filipino domestic workers in Lebanon have flocked to the embassy to sign up for free repatriation amid the crisis.
“More than 1,000 Filipinos, mostly women with some children in tow, arrived in droves to the Philippine embassy in Beirut to register for free mass repatriation scheduled in February next year,” the Embassy said in a statement.
A sponsorship system known as “kafala” leaves maids, nannies, and carers outside the ambit of Lebanon’s labor law, and at the mercy of their employers.
Cases of abuses have been reported regularly. Workers from the Philippines, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh make as little as $150 a month (P7,592).
Others have been fired by employers who can no longer afford their services, leaving foreign workers stranded with no income.
“[Some workers] lost jobs and income opportunities during these trying times in Lebanon,” added the Embassy.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are 27,812 OFWs in Lebanon. 23rd in 25 countries with the highest number of overseas Filipinos.