Senators call on gov't to ensure safety of OFWs in Taiwan

By Wilnard Bacelonia

August 10 2022, 4:20 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – Senators Bong Go and Raffy Tulfo are calling for the guaranteed protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan amid the tension between its government and the People's Republic of China.

Go specifically called on Wednesday the attention of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to prepare a contingency plan in case the situation deteriorates.

“I am deeply concerned for the safety and welfare of our OFWs working in various parts of East Asia because of increasing tension among stakeholders over Taiwan,” Go said in a statement.

He also urged the DMW to ensure that the government has “potential assistance and reintegration programs” ready should the concerned OFWs be required to return home to the Philippines.

"Proteksyunan natin ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino nasaan man sila sa mundo lalo na ang mga itinuturing nating modern-day heroes na OFWs na nagtatrabaho para mayroong maitustos sa pamilya nilang naiwan (Let us protect the life of every Filipino wherever they are in the world especially that the one we are calling as the modern-day heroes, the OFWs, who have been working to provide for their families)," Go added.

On the other hand, Tulfo has proposed that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should come up with a coordinated plan to ensure the safety of OFWs in Taiwan and other neighboring countries.

“The tension between China and Taiwan is not something to be taken lightly. Dapat ngayon pa lamang ay gumagawa na ng contingency plan ang DFA, OWWA, at POLO in the event na lumala ang problemang ito (The DFA. OWWA, and POLO should have been planning for a contingency in the event that this problem worsens). This is the perfect time for government agencies to show their united force by working together for the safety and security of our workers abroad,” Tulfo said in a statement.

In preparing for a contingency plan, the lawmaker said the concerned government agencies, should consider many factors, including the safety and funding assistance to around 200,000 OFWs in Taiwan.

“The national government should provide enough funding assistance to all Filipino workers to ensure that they can smoothly re-enter the country once they are evacuated,” Tulfo said.

In a recent statement, DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople assured that POLO in Taiwan is at its "normal operation".

Ople made the statement after meeting POLO officers including the Philippine labor attaché whom she has ordered to be always "visible" to OFWs and even to their employers. (PNA)