MANILA – Philippine Ambassador Raul Hernandez on Thursday appealed to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to include Turkey-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in its USD200 cash assistance.

Hernandez said some Filipino migrant workers, both documented and undocumented, have been affected by work disruptions caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Ang problema po nila ay kung papaano sila makakakuha ng financial assistance from DOLE. Mayroon tayong tinatawag na USD200 one-time financial assistance, pero hindi po kasama rito ang Turkey. So umaapela kami sa DOLE na isama ‘yung ating mga OFWs dito (Their problem is how to get financial assistance from DOLE. We have what we call the USD200 one-time financial assistance and Turkey is not listed in it. So we are appealing to DOLE to include our OFWs here),” he said during a phone interview at the Laging Handa briefing.

There are at least 3,063 Filipinos in Turkey.

Hernandez noted that most Filipinos there need food provision, especially employees under a “no work, no pay” arrangement.

He added that embassy and consulate officers have been chipping in just to provide them food packs.

The embassy is working on the repatriation of some OFWs, particularly displaced workers and those in distress.

“Mayroon tayong sitwasyon na parami nang parami ‘yung Covid-19 cases. So ‘yung ating mga kababayan nag-aalala na rin. Gusto na ring umuwi. Ngayon, mayroon kaming developing plan para sa kanilang repatriation (We have a situation where the Covid-19 cases continue to increase. So there is growing concern among our nationals. They want to go home. Now, we have a developing plan for their repatriation),” Hernandez said.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, one Filipino in the country has contracted the disease. The patient is undergoing treatment in a state hospital, he said.

“Pangkalahatan, ang ating mga kababayan ay nananatili na kalmado (Overall, our nationals here are calm),” Hernandez said.

As of April 15, World Health Organization data show that Turkey has a total of 65,111 Covid-19 cases. (PNA)

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