Ex-VP Binay calls for swift aid for OFWs in Hong Kong, other countries with COVID-19 surges | Global News

Ex-VP Binay calls for swift aid for OFWs in Hong Kong, other countries with COVID-19 surges

By: - Contributor / @inquirerdotnet
04:05 PM February 22, 2022

Former Vice President Jejomar Binay

Former Vice President Jejomar Binay looks on as several overseas Filipino workers formerly stranded in the Middle East are reunited with their families. Binay, who served as presidential adviser for OFW Concerns, is a senatorial candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial candidate and former Vice President Jejomar C. Binay on Tuesday urged authorities to extend immediate assistance to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) affected by the surge in COVID-19 cases in their host countries.

Binay, who served as presidential adviser for OFW Concerns during his term as vice president, issued the appeal following media reports of foreign domestic workers being abandoned or neglected by employers in Hong Kong.


The reports said foreign domestic workers have not been allowed by their employers to leave their homes, and those who tested positive for the virus are being denied treatment.


Binay also cited a statement from a recruiters group that around 4,000 OFWs bound for Hong Kong are stranded as a result of travel restrictions.

“This is a disturbing development that needs to be addressed immediately. Aside from Hong Kong, there are also surges in other countries in Europe. Dapat alamin ng mga awtoridad ang kalagayan ng ating mga kababayan doon at bigyan sila ng agad na tulong,” he said.

“Para naman sa mga hindi makabalik sa Hong Kong, kailangang bigyan sila ng cash and food aid, prayoridad sa rebooking ng kanilang mga ticket, at tulong sa pag-renew ng kanilang mga work visa,” the former vice president added.

Binay said if needed, the funds of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) should be replenished so it can extend help for its OFW members.

“The OWWA Fund is a trust fund. It is funded by the OFWs through their contributions, similar to the SSS and GSIS. But last year, OWWA officials have raised concerns that the fund could be depleted,” he said.

“Kailangang maibalik and nagastos na pondo dahil pera ito ng OFWs,” he added.


Binay added that the OWWA fund would be needed to help OFWs who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic through livelihood assistance and other services covered by the agency’s reintegration program.

Last year, labor officials had asked the national government to replenish the OWWA funds after the agency repatriated OFWs from countries hit by the pandemic.

Officials had said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P3.3 billion in July to cover the agency’s repatriation efforts. The agency earlier asked for an additional P7 billion to help cover the cost of food, accommodations, and other needs of returning OFWs.

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TAGS: Global Nation, Hong Kong, Jejomar Binay, ofws

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