Legarda sought investigation on the Phl preparedness giving aid to OFWs

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 4, 2011-To provide assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations sought for an investigation on the preparedness of the Philippine government including embassies and consulates abroad, saying that the recent incidents in different parts of the world have brought impending danger to OFWs.


There are more than 14,000 OFWs who remain trapped in strife-torn Libya while 11 Filipinos are still missing following the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand last February 22 according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).


“Due to the eruption of violence and cross-fire between pro and anti-government forces, the political turmoil and social unrest in Libya have compromised the safety of thousands of OFWs,” Legarda said; thus, New Zealand recent turmoil has affected our countrymen that have brought anxiety both to the OFWs and their relatives.


Legarda said that the safety of the more than 1.5 million OFWs scattered throughout 197 countries around the world is of paramount importance in their significant contribution in saving the Philippine economy and also the added hardships that they have to face while living and working abroad.


Through this, Legarda is pushing for an inquiry into the efforts conducted by the government particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, other related agencies, our embassies and consulates abroad to these events and preparedness in providing assistance to the OFWs should other emergency arises in other countries.


Her sought for inquiry explained that the bilateral relations with foreign nations where OFWs are residing must be utilized in combined effort for their protection in cases of distressed and emergency situations.


Legarda said that our embassies and consulates must provide the government here with constant assessments of the existing situations in their respective territorial assignments, saying that so as not to compromise the safety of our OFWs, there is a need for a sense of urgency and be prepared to adopt contingency measures even before a crisis erupts.


“There is a need to strengthen the intelligence network of diplomatic posts abroad so that they will be able to foresee a looming crisis and to plan ahead by analyzing domestic tensions in their posts,” she said.


To get back on their feet after their stressful experience abroad and also to boost their morale, the government should be prepared at all times not only in providing immediate repatriation for OFWs but also in adopting reintegration programs, such as skills training for displaced OFWs, that would provide them job opportunities. (Jason de Asis)



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