MANILA – The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is now preparing for the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and the remains of Filipino fatalities amid the conflict in Israel.
“So abangan na lang ang anunsyo dito (just wait for the announcement) because obviously, we're preparing the flights and all that, but soon there will be repatriation of OFWs who had requested repatriation from Israel,” DMW Officer-in-charge Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac said at a press conference on Thursday.
So far, he said that they have received 22 requests for repatriation, including 19 caregivers and three hotel workers.
Aside from processing the return of said workers, Cacdac said that the DMW is also advising them about labor concerns involving their respective employers.
He said this is to ensure that these OFWs have a good understanding and agreement with their employers so they can go back to work once the situation improves.
Currently, Israel is under alert level 2 and repatriation is purely voluntary on the side of the Filipino workers.
Assistance for OFWs in transit
About a hundred OFWs in transit to Israel who were unexpectedly affected by the conflict are also being assisted by the DMW and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), according to Cacdac.
Cacdac, who met with OWWA Administrator Arnell Ignacio on Wednesday, said he was advised that a group of OFWs headed for Israel were stranded somewhere in the Middle East.
“We’ve covered the number of OFWs who are stranded somewhere because their flights to Israel have been canceled for obvious reasons,” Cacdac said.
“In this scenario, DMW-OWWA agreed to provide assistance, yung ating (our) Aksyon Fund will be mobilized to assist those who have been stranded due to the current situation, even those who are still here, yung may mga OECs (overseas employment certificates) na, yung may mga approved contract and visas, tutulungan natin silang lahat (those who already have OECs, those with approved contracts and visas, we will help all of them). It's one of Secretary Toots’ (Ople) legacy,” he added.
Cacdac also assured that DMW and OWWA will help the families and the children left behind by the OFWs killed in Israel.
Aside from financial assistance, he said the bereaved families will also be provided livelihood assistance, reintegration assistance, employment assistance, job facilitation, and psychosocial assistance. (PNA)