Friday, March 4, 2011
Villar urged the gov’t. for a comprehensive strategy to address OFWs welfare
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 5, 2011-To address the concerns and welfares of repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from restive states in the Middle East and North Africa, Senator Manny Villar urged the government to formulate a comprehensive strategy in giving economic and social assistance in the form of livelihood and technical skills training, preference in redeployment, free hospitalization and Philhealth membership, educational help and other benefits aside from the Php10,000 financial aid.
A proposed senate resolution number 412 was filed by Villar urging the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) as well as other concerned executive agencies to devise a strategy that will address the concerns of repatriated OFWs who now lack sources of income.
The senator said that the OFWs still need help and will be repatriated and rendered without employment that’s why it is necessary for the government to act and to lay down measures to ensure that these Filipinos are given adequate economic assistance so that they may be able to start again either here in the Philippines or abroad.
“Workers who were repatriated with their families should be assisted in relocation, housing and education of their children as well as healthcare,” Villar said, noting that the unrest in the region has placed the livelihood and safety of OFWs at risk, saying that an estimated number of 30,000 Filipinos are affected by the conflict and are now in the process of repatriation in Libya alone, adding that at least 14,000 Filipinos are waiting to be evacuated from Libya according to the Department of Labor and Employment.
“Armed conflicts sometimes have a psychological impact on a person,” Villar said, saying that free counseling and other similar services must be made available so that the workers may be aided in coping up with the experiences that they suffered while they were in conflict zones.
Meanwhile, the Senator lauded the emergency repatriation being carried out by employers in Libya, specifically the efforts of French company Vinci Construction Grand Project for airlifting 97 Filipino workers out of the war-torn nation.
A welcome lunch was hosted by Lito Soriano, CEO of LBS Recruitment Solutions Corp. Susan Ople of the Ople Center presented the resolution for the 60 OFW from Libya on behalf of Villar. Villar’s Sagip OFW and the Ople Center started the “Skills-Up” program, a vocational skills scholarship program for repatriated OFWs who are victims of abuse and illegal recruitment. (Jason de Asis)
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