Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Change strategy in the Middle East crisis for OFWs welfare-Angara
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 2, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations urged the government to change strategy to keep pace with the troubles in the Middle East in order to lessen the negative impact on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) affecting the economy in the continues rise in crude oil prices.
He said that there is a need to learn to anticipate instead of waiting and then reacting to the events in the crisis, saying that a sense of urgency is needed for we are facing serious global situation particularly the affected Filipinos.
“There are two (2) major and inevitable effects of the unrest in the Middle East for the Filipinos where it will directly affect the OFWs currently based in Middle Eastern countries adding that these people might be put out of their jobs if the problem continues and they might be put into harm’s way if they stay.
This is an offshoot of the turmoil in the Middle East and has impact in the Philippine economy. Angara explained that the region supplies much of the world’s crude oil, and as an oil-dependent country, the rise of oil prices would translate into higher transportation fares, then higher food prices and an overall increase in the cost of living. This would ultimately give an unneeded boost to the country’s inflation rates and surely be felt first by the poverty-stricken citizenry.
“The administration should take pro-active measures so that the country’s people and economy stay safe,” Angara said, explaining that it has a domino-effect in the countries of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and other lands in the Gulf area where a lot of Filipinos work in those places.
The Senator said that there is also a need to put additional funds for the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to good use in providing OFWs a way back to the Philippines and helping them once they get here.
Meanwhile, there are still 4,097 Filipinos awaiting evacuation from Libya and finally repatriation to the Philippines according to DOLE Middle East Crisis Monitoring Center while 3,544 Filipinos are already out where transportation to the Philippines is in various stages.
OWWA reported that they are ready to provide Php10,000 grant assistance to every OFW coming home from Libya in addition to the package assistance of National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NCRO) such as job placements and business loan. (Jason de Asis)
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