DILG enlists barangays in search for Syria OFWs

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The government is turning to the 42,000 barangay chairmen throughout the country to help locate the thousands of overseas Filipino workers trapped in strife-torn Syria.

Over the weekend, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo ordered all barangay chiefs to seek out the families of the estimated 17,000 OFWs in Syria and get the contact information of their loved ones in the Middle East country where bloody confrontations between rebels and government forces have been escalating.

In his directive, Robredo gave the barangay officials until Sept. 2 to submit the names, contact numbers and whereabouts of the Filipinos in Syria to field officers of the Department of the Interior and Local Government or to the National Barangay Operations Office.

“We need the help of our punong barangays in identifying and locating some 17,000 Filipino workers in Syria so the government could promptly execute its contingency and evacuation plans,” he said.

The government has said that 95 percent of the 17,000 OFWs in Syria work as domestic helpers, with most of them undocumented but who would rather stay in the troubled country than lose their jobs.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has raised the security alert in Syria to level 3, which calls for voluntary repatriation to be paid for by the Philippine government.

Only a few OFWs, however, have responded to the government’s call to leave, while some have complained of the Philippine embassy’s slow response to their plight.

Robredo also urged people who may know the whereabouts of OFWs in Syria to forward the information to the DILG through its hotline text number 2299.

The text should follow the format: Type DILG, name of sender, name of OFW, address and contact number in Syria, and any additional information.

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  • Anonymous

    It may be wiser to tap the tracing services of the Philippine Red Cross because it can link up with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society, both being members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Tracing is one of the core services of the International Red Cross Movement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Reynaldo-Quijada/100000740291153 Reynaldo Quijada

    It is good that Jess Robredo has thought of the barangays to trace the OFWs in Syria where most of them are undocumented. When I was a barangay captain myself, I served as the attorney of OFWs from my barangay so that they will not be victimized and when they were deployed but encountered difficulties, I followed up their recruitment agency to help them and some who decided to return, their expenses were shouldered by the recruitment agency as provided for in their contract. I also monitored whether their families are using wisely the money they send home and report to them accordingly. My point is the barangays can be proactive instead of being reactive in the services they render with the proper guidance of the DILG. I wanted and tried to convince my fellow barangay captains then to do the same but I was prevented by partisan politics in my province. It is ood that Jes Robredo has noticed what the barangays can do other than its usual activities. Hope Pnoy takes notice too the full potential of barangays.

  • Anonymous

    its a good move from sec robredo to contact the families of the OFWs scattered in crisis syria, but would these OFWs care to go home and leave syria knowing that the majority of them are undocumented workers in syria, ha, ha, ha? most likely, if they leave syria they will enter lebanon and stay,  instead of going home since that is the usual jumped off point in that region for filipinos! in peaceful time it is more advantageous for OFWs to find better paying jobs in syria than in lebanon, at least the syrian arabs control their own government not the palestinian hezbollah in lebanon?

  • shane oy

    Bakit hindi ang OWWA, POEA o ano pang ahanesya ng gobyerno na connected sa mga ofw ang magsagawa nito? ANo ba ang misyon ng mga ahensyang ito para sa mga OFW? Para saan ba at sapilitang pinagbabayad ang mga ofw para dito? tutulong lang ba sila kapag DEAD na ang ofw?
    Well, at least the DILG is doing something.

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