Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday urged the government to develop a reintegration or what she called a BalikBayani program for OFWs who will lose their income due to the coronavirus disease or COVID-19.
The Senator made the call as she delivered food packs and hygiene kits to around 400 OFWs who are currently in a 14-day mandatory quarantine inside a 2GO ship manned by the Philippine Coast Guard at Pier 15 in Manila.
Senator Risa Hontiveros turned over boxes of relief packs for 400 overseas Filipino workers under quarantine in Pier 15 in South Harbor in Manila to Philippine Coast Guard’s Commander Armand Balilo (Spokesperson) and Lt. Michael John Encina (Community Relations Officer).
“Libu-libong pamilya na dependent sa mga OFWs ang mawawalan ng source of income. Ilang Filipino cruise ship workers, seafarers, hotel and tourism workers sa ibang bansa ang mawawalan ng trabaho? Kailangang handa tayong tulungan sila, ” Hontiveros said, citing the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration or OWWA and the Department of Labor and Employment’s mandate in implementing a reintegration program.
“OWWA and DOLE should work with local government units (LGUs) to ensure that systems are in place to support returning OFWs. A welfare fund can be established as a source of ‘pantawid’ for their families’ loss of income in the months to come,” urged Hontiveros.
The Senator also asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development to include OFW families in the Social Amelioration Program.
“Sana maisama sa Social Amelioration Program ang pamilya ng ating mga OFWs, lalung lalo na ang mga mawawalan agad ng kita dahil sa COVID-19,” she urged.
“Malaki ang naging kontribusyon ng OFW remittances sa ating ekonomiya. Tayo naman ngayon ang magbigay ng tulong sa kanila,” she concluded.