Solon praises government for OFW and repatriation of sailors

RESIDENCE. Sailors from MV Bolten Ithaki, MV Ithaca Prospect, MV Polar Star and MV Riva Wind arrive in the Philippines on March 14, 2022. The latest arrival brings the total number of sailors repatriated from Ukraine since February 27 to 247. (Photo courtesy of DFA)

MANILA – A party group representing Filipino sailors on Tuesday praised the Duterte administration for its measures focused on the protection and safety of Filipinos abroad, especially those affected by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

In a statement, Marino’s representative, Sandro Gonzales, praised the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for successfully repatriating hundreds of Filipino sailors aboard different ships in areas affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Gonzales said these agencies have been effective in carrying out their mandate and responsibilities to always protect the welfare of Filipinos working overseas.

“We salute the hard work and dedication of the people at DFA, DOLE, OWWA and POEA, among other government agencies, to keep our people safe overseas,” he said. “Our fervent goal is 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 about 247 sailors 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 ground 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 by chartered flights and chartered ground transportation, food, quarantine facilities, psychosocial counseling and job debriefings. stress, cash assistance of PHP10,000 each, livelihood assistance of PHP20,000 and educational assistance of PHP20,000.

Meanwhile, during the latest wave 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, the Philippine Consul General in Hong Kong, Raly Tejada, said the Philippine government already provides various aids to OFWs who are in medical isolation facilities.

These services include medical, financial and food assistance, as well as other basic necessities.

Tejada also said Hong Kong Labor and Welfare Secretary Chi-kwong Law assured all Filipino domestic workers in particular of the Hong Kong government’s strong support, stressing that their government does not tolerate not and will not tolerate the unlawful dismissal of domestic workers.

“He mentioned that Hong Kong is committed to protecting their rights and defending their interests, including providing accommodation for domestic service workers who have tested positive for Covid-19,” Tejada said. (NAP)

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