DMW vows more aid for Japan quake victims

DMW vows more aid for Japan quake victims

Firefighters search for people in therubble of a collapsed house in the city of Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, which was hit by a quake on New Year’s Day. Over 50 people have been reported missing.

QUAKE AFTERMATH Firefighters search for people in the rubble of a collapsed house in the city of Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, which was hit by a quake on New Year’s Day. Over 50 people have been reported missing. —AFP

More financial assistance can be given to migrant Filipino workers in Japan affected by the magnitude 7.6 earthquake on New Year’s Day, according to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).

“We are closely monitoring the situation of (overseas Filipino workers), especially those who are in the Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures to guarantee their safety,” DMW officer in charge Hans Leo Cacdac said in a statement on Thursday.


“Also, we are ready to provide necessary medical and financial assistance to OFWs on-site,” he said, adding that the DMW assistance would be coursed through the Migrant Workers Office (MWO) in Osaka.


READ: ‘Helpless’ Japan earthquake survivors ask for water

According to the department, there are 1,194 Filipinos in the Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures, with 447 in Ishikawa and the rest in Toyama.

Most of the Filipino workers work in the manufacturing, welding and carpentry sectors.

Both the Department of Foreign Affairs and the DMW said they were in touch with the Filipinos in the area and they have not received any reports of Filipino casualties due to the earthquake.

“Meanwhile, all supervising organizations and principals are directed to monitor the safety of their deployed OFWs and report their conditions to MWO-Osaka for necessary assistance and support,” the DMW said.

READ: Japan quake rescuers race against time as survival limit nears

As of Thursday, the Japanese government has confirmed that at least 60 people were killed by the earthquake that destroyed several residential and commercial infrastructures. It was followed by one-meter-high tsunamis across western Japan.

The Japan temblor was the DMW’s first assistance-to-nationals challenge for 2024, in addition to the 50,000 distressed overseas Filipino workers last year, including about 15,000 who were repatriated, mostly from the Middle East and Sudan.


Speaking at the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon public briefing, Cacdac said the assistance and repatriation were mostly accomplished through the One Repatriation Command Center set up under his predecessor, the late Susan Ople.

Aid from center

Through the center, Cacdac said that OFWs were safely evacuated from Turkey following the earthquake in March last year, from Sudan, where a civil war began in April-May, and from Israel, Lebanon and Palestine amid the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict.

Cacdac said that since its creation, the center has assisted a monthly average of 1,000 distressed OFWs, mostly domestics who encountered employment-related problems.

They were brought back home to be reunited with their families and given proper financial and livelihood assistance after they decided not to work overseas anymore, he added.

At present, the DMW is attending to the needs of the families of 17 Filipino seafarers who were recently taken hostage by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The department is also operating a “Japan Help Desk” to assist OFWs and their families who are affected by the New Year’s Day earthquake in Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures.

“We have been receiving calls, although I have to admit, they’re not that many because, for me, it indicates the efficient and orderly disaster management efforts of the Japanese government,” he said.

“Financial assistance is forthcoming for those who have been adversely affected by the earthquake. For example, if their house is damaged, or if their employment is stopped, or if they need support in terms of food and basic necessities, we will give it to them. We gave hotlines as well as an email address so that they [can] contact us,” Cacdac said.

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The DMW utilized about P600 million of its Aksyon (Agarang Kalinga at Saklolo para sa mga OFWs na Nangangailangan) Fund last year through direct financial assistance and legal assistance to OFWs in need.

TAGS: DMW, Japan earthquake, ofws

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