MANILA: Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) are rushing home for the festive season with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals 1, 2 and 3 busy coping with huge rush of OFWs, including those from Afghanistan headed home for Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Many of the OFWs in Afghanistan were earlier reluctant to come home this season after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued a work or OFW-deployment ban on the country, Philippine Star quoted Manny Geslani, spokesman for the Samahang Pilipino in Afghanistan (SPA), as saying.
Geslani reportedly said that the OFWs had second thoughts because they may not be able to go back to work if the ban continues.
At the terminals, many returning OFWs are seen filling up the arrival and luggage conveyor areas as they wait for their balikbayan (repatriate) boxes and checked-in baggage that are usually filled with pasalubong (a gift or souvenir brought home by a Filipino who travels), the report said.
Meanwhile, SPA chairman Roberto Tabaloc reportedly thanked POEA administrator Hans Cacdac for not enforcing the ban in time for Christmas, pointing out that the deployment ban earlier caused confusion among Filipinos in Kabul and the US bases.
He added that many of the OFWs in Afghanistan posted in their Facebook accounts the joy and happiness of being able to fly to Manila and fly back to their job sites.
Tabaloc also reportedly pointed out that many OFWs look forward to spending time with their families and loved ones, and to share in the Filipino Christmas tradition of Simbang Gabi (dawn mass), hanging bright and colorful lanterns, and partaking of the sumptuous lechon, kaldereta, puto-bumbong and bibingka, the news report said.
Most of the Filipino workers in Afghanistan are recruited in Dubai by companies that prefer Filipinos because of their ability to speak English and read engineering plans, Philippine Star reported.