A party-list group representing Filipino seafarers on Tuesday lauded the Duterte administration for its measures focusing on the protection and safety of overseas Filipinos, especially those affected by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
In a statement, Marino Rep. Sandro Gonzales commended the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for successfully repatriating hundreds of Filipino seafarers onboard different ships in the areas affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Gonzales said these agencies have been efficient in carrying out their mandate and responsibilities to always protect the welfare of Filipinos working in foreign lands.
“We commend the hard work and dedication of the people from DFA, DOLE, OWWA and POEA, among other government agencies, to ensure the safety of our people abroad,” he said. “It is our fervent goal to look after the welfare of our overseas workers, especially our seafarers who are considered the best in the world. We gladly express our support to these government agencies for a job well done.”
According to March 15 data, the DFA said around 247 seafarers have been repatriated by the government since February 27.
The DOLE-International Labor Affairs Bureau (DOLE-ILAB), on the other hand, reported that a total of 178 land-based OFWs from Ukraine had already been repatriated as of March 12.
The government has also provided much-needed assistance to the affected overseas Filipino workers in various forms including transportation via chartered flights and chartered land transport, food, quarantine facilities, psychosocial counseling and stress debriefing, cash assistance of P10,000 each, livelihood assistance of P20,000 and educational assistance of P20,000.
Meanwhile, on the latest surge of Covid-19 in Hong Kong, DFA Senior Special Assistant Jose Cabrera reported that 314 OFWs had already contracted the virus as of March 20.
During a House hearing, Philippine Consul General in Hong Kong Raly Tejada said the Philippine government is already providing various assistance to OFWs who are in medical isolation facilities.
These services include medical, financial, and food assistance, as well as other basic necessities.
Tejada also stated that Hong Kong Secretary of Labour and Welfare Chi-kwong Law assured all Filipino household service workers in particular, of the Hong Kong government’s strong support, emphasizing that their government does not and will not tolerate illegal dismissal of household workers.
“He mentioned that Hong Kong is committed to protecting their rights and upholding their interests, including providing accommodation for household service workers who tested positive for Covid-19,” Tejada said.