DOLE profiles needs of OFWs home from Libya
“If there is gunfire they enlist their names, but when it’s quiet, they will withdraw their names.”
This is what lawyer Deo Grafil, head of OFW Concerns from the office of Vice President Jejomar Binay, told us during our live broadcast over Radyo Inquirer 990 AM.
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Libya are also submitting their names to the Bantay OCW program via e-mail, so their names would be enlisted. Apparently, they could not get through the Philippine embassy hotlines.
Grafil immediately coordinated with Chargé de Affairs Adel Cruz of the Rapid Response Team in Libya and gave him the said list. CDA Cruz will call each one of the OFWs in the list, but the sad thing is they’re backing out. Their reason was, they feel like the situation there will cease and everything will go back to normal. According to them, it’s a waste of time if they will go home unemployed.
On Cruz’s preference in helping more of our kababayan to come home, he encourages OFWs to persuade their fellow OFWs to take advantage of the government’s provision while help is still available. Tripoli airport has already closed so they have to travel by land or by sea as a means of transportation to be able to reach the nearest countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Malta where they could ride a plane back home.
The government rented a vessel amounting to $1.8 million and a chartered plane of Philippine Airlines to transport the OFWs in Libya. We hope that these sacrifices of our government officials will not be ignored by our kababayan, which is also for their own sake, for their own safety. Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz assured them that the attached agencies of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) are prepared to meet the needs of our OFWs, right from the airport. Even Labor Undersecretary Reydeluz Conferido is encouraging our OFWs not to be afraid to return, for they have something to hope for when they come back and they are ready to assist them by all means.
According to Labor Attaché Jeffrey Cortazar, DOLE National Reintegration Center director, wherever our kababayan in Libya are, the labor representative in Libya is already running a survey, profiling our OFWs on their needs and the specific livelihood program they prefer. While our OFWs are on their way home, Cortazar and DOLE regional offices are busy preparing on the specific needs mentioned, so they could serve our OFWs right away.
According to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) Administrator Rebecca Calzado, right from the airport, they see to it that our OFWs will feel the faster and more simplified services of the government, in accordance with the directive of Secretary Baldoz, which is what Owwa has been doing. Owwa Deputy Administrator Josefino Torres also added that the program is coined as Assist WELL. W-elfare, E-mployment, L-ivelihood and L-ove.
The government has instituted so many programs for our OFWs. It’s a matter of knowing and believing that there are solid and realistic programs for our returning OFWs for them to avail. In compliance with those directives, their needs will be met somehow.
(Susan Andes, aka Susan K., can be heard over on Inquirer Radio dzIQ 990 AM, Monday to Friday, 10:30 am-12:00 noon.
Audio/video live streaming is at www.ustream.tv/ channel/dziq
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