OFWs slowly returning to Afghanistan

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino workers are now slowly returning to Afghanistan over a year after the Taliban returned to power.

“Filipino workers started going back to Afghanistan late last year to work with UN (United Nations) agencies that are now helping feed millions of hungry citizens,” recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani said over the weekend.

While there is an existing ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Afghanistan, Geslani noted that the small number of Filipino workers there are documented and legally employed.

All these Filipinos, he explained, are covered by the exemption given to UN-employed expatriates.

In 2021, the Philippine government imposed a total deployment ban to Afghanistan due to prevailing tension in the Islamic country.

The government also ordered the repatriation of over a hundred Filipino workers from Afghanistan when the Taliban took over in mid-August 2021 after a swift turn of events following the pullout of US troops.

However, a few Filipinos in Afghanistan refused repatriation and continued working there.

One Filipino worker who opted to stay told Geslani that most of those who have returned to Kabul returned to their former jobs in UN organizations.

The overseas Filipino worker (OFW) also reported that the UN agencies also recruited former military men and dog handlers.

Geslani gave assurance that OFWs in Afghanistan are safe as the situation there has already improved.

“But I don’t think OFWs in Afghanistan would return to its former number,” Geslani said, adding that the Afghanistan market is unlikely to reopen.

Slain OFW in Kuwait

Meanwhile, slain OFW Jullebee Ranara was laid to rest at the Golden Haven Memorial Park in Las Piñas City, in a private ceremony requested by the family yesterday.

Ranara, a 35-year-old domestic worker in Kuwait, was killed reportedly by the 17-year-old son of her employer. Her body was burned and the remains dumped in the desert.

OWWA Administrator Arnell Ignacio, who was tasked to take care of the wake and burial, thanked all those who donated financial assistance to the family.

The Coalition of Licensed Agencies Deploying Domestic and Service workers and the Philippine Association of Agencies for Kuwait donated P340,000 from local and foreign recruitment agencies.

Kuwaiti authorities have promised Ranara’s family and the Philippines’ Department of Migrant Workers to see to it that justice is served in the killing of the OFW.    – With Rudy Santos

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