News Release
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
January 8, 2020

Amid US-Iran tension
P600m set for repat, aid to ME workers

The labor department has set aside an initial P600 million for the immediate repatriation and assistance to overseas Filipino workers who will be brought home from the crisis-stricken Middle East.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III also said Wednesday that alternative overseas and local employment are being readied for affected workers following the rising tension between the US and Iran as Rapid Response Teams (RRT) have been constituted for immediate deployment.

Bello met with officials of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of National Defense (DND), National Security Advisers, NICA, and with the Mindanao Development Authority to discuss the situation of the Filipino workers in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and other neighboring countries affected by the tension.

“I informed the group that I am sending my senior officials to inform our OFWs the situation of the US-Iran tension and the plans of the government for repatriation,” Bello said.

The RRT will be led by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Bernard Olalia who will be sent to Lebanon; OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac who will be sent to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; and Undersecretary Claro Arellano to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  They will brief the OFWs and ensure a well-coordinated and safe repatriation of our workers, the labor chief added.

He said the RRT will encourage the OFWs to be repatriated back to the Philippines.  However, we cannot force those who want to stay.

“We will ask them to join the repatriation efforts, however, if they do not cooperate, then we can no longer do anything about it. We will also get in touch with their employers to let our OFWs come home,” Bello said.

Cacdac said that aside from the 100-million-peso repatriation fund, the labor department has a 500 million pesos stand-by fund for crisis and emergency situations which can be utilized immediately.

Records show that an estimated number of 2,174,611 Filipinos, documented and undocumented, are in the Middle East including Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, and Israel. The government also estimate a total of 2,191 Filipinos in Iraq and 1,184 in Iran.

Bello said that at the moment, no OFW has expressed willingness, nor have communicated with the DOLE, to ask for repatriation assistance from the government.

“As of now, we have not received any request from our OFW that they want to go home. Only their families have contacted us to check on their situation and for updates on the said countries,” Bello said.

Repatriated Filipinos will be provided with livelihood assistance, offered with training under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and will be encouraged to apply for other overseas job markets such as Russia, Japan, and Canada.

Meanwhile, OFWs on the said Arab countries and their families are advised by Bello to call Hotline 1348 and 1349 of the labor department should they need repatriation or any forms of assistance from the government. #Paul Ang

 

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Sa gitna ng tensyong US-Iran
P600M Ilalatag sa repat, tulong sa OFWs sa Middle East

Naglatag ang Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ng inisyal na P600 milyong piso para sa mabilis na repatriation at tulong sa mga overseas Filipino workers (OFW) na papauwiin bunsod ng krisis sa Gitnang Silangan.

Sinabi rin ni Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III nitong Miyerkules na inihahanda na ang mga alternatibong overseas at local employment para sa mga apektadong manggagawa kasunod ng tumitinding tension sa pagitan ng US at Iran kasabay na rin ng pagpapadala doon ng isang Rapid Response Team (RRT).

Nakipagpulong rin si Bello sa mga opisyal ng Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of National Defense (DND), National Security Advisers, NICA, at ng Mindanao Development Authority upang pag-usapan ang sitwasyon ng mga Pilipinong manggagawa sa Iran, Iraq, Lebanon at iba pang kalapit na bansa na apektado ng tensyon.

“Inabisuhan ko ang grupo na ipapadala ko ang aking mga senior officials upang bigyang babala ang mga OFW sa sitwasyon ng tensyon sa pagitan ng US at Iran at ang plano ng gobyerno para sa repatriation,” wika ni Bello.

Ang RRT ay pangungunahan nina Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Bernard Olalia na ipadadala sa Lebanon; OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac na magtutungo sa Saudi Arabia at Kuwait; at si Undersecretary Claro Arellano naman sa United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Ang mga OFW ay pupulungin upang matiyak ang maayos na koordinasyon at ligtas na repatriation ng ating mga manggagawa, dagdag pa ng kalihim.

Hihikayatin rin aniya ng RRT ang mga OFW na sumama sa repatriation pabalik sa Pilipinas.  Gayunman, hindi mapipilit ang sinumang ayaw sumama.

“Pipilitin naming sumama sila sa repatriation efforts, gayunman, kung hindi sila makikipagtulungan ay wala na kaming magagawa pa doon. Makikipag-ugnayan rin kami sa kanilang mga employer upang payagang umuwi ang mga OFW,” ayon pa kay Bello.

Sinabi ni Cacdac na maliban sa 100 milyong pisong repatriation fund, mayroon ding 500 milyong pisong stand-by fund and DOLE para sa mga krisis at emergency situation na maaaring magamit agad.

Batay sa tala,mayroong tinatayang 2,174,611 na bilang ng mga Pilipino, documented at undocumented na nasa Middle East at kabilang dito ang Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, at Israel. Sa pagtataya rin ng pamahalaan, mayroong kabuuang 2,191 Pilipino sa Iraq at 1,184 sa Iran.

Sinabi ni Bello na sa ngayon ay wala pang OFW ang nagpahayag ng kagustuhan o nakipag-ugnayan sa DOLE upang humingi ng tulong sa repatriation mula sa pamahalaan.

“Sa ngayon wala pa kaming natatanggap na hiling mula sa mga OFW na nais nilang umuwi. Tanging ang kanilang mga pamilya lamang ang tumatawag sa amin upang malaman ang kanilang sitwasyon at nagaganap sa nasabing mga bansa,” ayon kay Bello.

Ang mga napauwing Pilipino ay bibigyan ng livelihood assistance, training sa ilalim ng Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) at hihikayating mag-aplay sa ibang trabaho sa ibayong dagat tulad ng sa Russia, Japan, at Canada.

Samantala, ang mga OFW sa nasabing mga Arab country at kanilang pamilya ay inabisuhan ni Bello na tumawag sa Hotline 1348 at 1349 ng DOLE kung nangangailangan ng repatriation o anumang uri ng tulong mula sa pamahalaan.
#Paul Ang

 

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