• The repatriated group included 942 workers from Kuwait, and 70 from Sri Lanka
  • A Qatari official reportedly said authorities were investigating the death of an OFW earlier this month
  • The man had reportedly fallen off a ramp while repairing lights as he reportedly wasn't wearing a harness

More than 7,800 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been brought back to the country from January to November 2022, the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said Monday, amid reports of the former facing abuse.

A total of 7,880 OFWs have been repatriated through the "efforts" of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers (OUMWA), the OPS said in a press release Monday. The agency further noted that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in its report to the Macalañang Palace that 57.67% of the repatriated workers were from the Middle East.

The repatriated group included 942 "distressed" workers from Kuwait, while 70 were from Sri Lanka.

The OPS said the repatriation of OFWs were part of the Marcos administration's bid to "bolster response to the needs of overseas Filipinos (OFs)."

The office also said President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. supported cooperation between the DFA and the newly created Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) in efforts to further "strengthen" assistance for OFs.

The OPS' comments came about two weeks after the DFA confirmed the death of a Filipino worker in his 40s at a training base of the World Cup in Qatar.

The man fell off a ramp while repairing lights at a training base as he reportedly wasn't wearing a harness, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. The training base was reportedly being used by the football team of Saudi Arabia.

A Qatari government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said local authorities were investigating the incident, according to the Inquirer.

"If the investigation concludes that safety protocols were not followed, the company will be subject to legal action and severe financial penalties," the government official was quoted to have said.

Around the same time, the Philippine Star reported on the alleged abuse of Filipino boat workers in Ireland. An OFW the outlet called Lloyd, who was working as a fisherman in Ireland, revealed that work lasted for up to 21 hours a day, and the employees only got to "sleep three to four hours."

Lloyd also revealed that a skipper, or the individual in charge of a boat, punched him "randomly in the stomach," adding that his salary was "significantly less" than what European crew members received.

Another fisherman called Rene revealed that there were times "we'd even ask other boats for food, and our rest time was only when there were storms."

Last year, researchers from Maynooth University revealed in a report, which documented the experiences of non-European Economic Area (EEA) workers, that Filipino and Egyptian employees in the Irish fishing industry had "extremely long working hours with few breaks," were often paid below the minimum wage and experienced racist slurs.

Earlier this month, think tank OCTA Research revealed in its Tugon ng Masa Q4 2022 survey that 36% of the respondents expressed "dissatisfaction" over the work being done by the DMW, the Philippine Star reported.

Of the interviewed respondents, only 10% said they were satisfied with the new department's services.

Philippine Pres. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his first State of the Nation Address, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 25, 2022. Jam Sta Rosa/Pool via REUTERS Jam Sta Rosa/Pool via REUTERS