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No reports yet of Filipino casualties in Japan—OWWA

First Posted 16:01:00 03/14/2011

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MANILA, Philippines?The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration office in Tokyo has yet to receive reports of Filipino casualties during the killer quake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan last weekend, according to OWWA head Carmelita Dimzon.

"As of (Monday morning), there are still no Filipino casualties. We have not received reports of Filipino casualties from our people in Japan," Dimzon told the Inquirer.

Dimzon said OWWA personnel based in the Japanese capital were "still assessing the extent of the devastation caused by the quake and tsunami."

When interviewed, the OWWA administrator also denied reports that the agency would extend emergency financial assistance to Filipino migrant worker-victims of the natural disaster.

"Malabo at this point (Still uncertain)," said Dimzon.

According to Dimzon, "such a move requires the approval of the OWWA board."

"We'll have to create another program similar to the P10,000 one-time financial assistance given to Filipinos repatriated from Libya. That needs a policy decision," she said.

In the event an OWWA member dies in an accident or natural calamity in a foreign country, "that person's beneficiary is entitled to the member's death benefits amounting to P200,000 plus P20,000 in burial expenses," Dimzon explained.

"There is also a scholarship program for the children of the deceased OWWA member plus livelihood assistance for the family of the member's family," she added.

Meanwhile, OWWA clarified that "entitlement to the P10,000 relief assistance shall be limited to OFWs who lost their employment in Libya and repatriated to the Philippines."

The agency, however, said, "OFWs who returned to the Philippines prior to the voluntary repatriation program announced by the Department of Foreign Affairs on February 24 are considered not repatriated due to the Libyan conflict, and therefore not entitled to receive the cash grant."

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