PH doubles effort to protect welfare of OFWs in Bahrain

Presidential Special Envoy to Bahrain Robert Eric Borje on Saturday said the Philippine government has successfully conveyed its desire to further boost engagement with Bahrain in protecting Filipinos currently working in the Persian Gulf country.

In a recently concluded official visit to Bahrain, Borje said he and his delegation personally forwarded a letter from President Rodrigo Duterte signifying the intent to Bahraini Prime Minister and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

“Sa amin pong pakikipagkita sa Punong Ministro at Crown Prince, sinabi po niya na suportado niya ang mga programa ni Pangulong Duterte at bina-value niya ang pagkakaibigan nila at higit pa doon, bina-value daw niya ang kontribusyon ng Filipino sa Bahrain dahil lahat ng mga Filipino ay tumutulong sa pag-unlad ng bansa (When we met the Prime Minister and Crown Prince, he said that he supports the program of President Duterte and that he values their friendship, and most of all the contribution of Filipinos in Bahrain),” he said in a statement on Jan. 2 upon his arrival in Manila.

Borje said the delegation, which included Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola, also met with high-level Bahraini officials in eight separate meetings, which he described as fruitful and “successful”.

Among these Bahraini offices are the Labor Management Reform Authority, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the National Institute for Human Rights.

“Dahil po sa mga meetings na iyon, patuloy po ang pag-usad at paglago ng ating relationship sa gobyernong Bahrain (Because of such meetings, our relationship with the Bahrain government continues to move forward),” he said.

Aside from increasing engagement with these offices, the delegation also brought home over 200 Filipinos, including three abandoned minors, several detainees who had been imprisoned in Dubai, and distressed nationals from Abu Dhabi.

Arriola said the repatriation was the 60th flight arranged by the Philippine government as part of the country’s commitment that “no Filipino shall be left behind”.

She said aside from flight tickets shouldered by the government, the assistance also included testing, quarantine, and the transportation of repatriates back to their home provinces.

“So, door-to-door po talaga. And dahil po ito sa bilin po ni Pangulong Duterte na, of course, ang ating mga OFW kailangan po talaga pangalagaan kayo. At ito po, we just want to show na we will leave no one behind, na lahat po talaga ng ating mga kababayan ay inaalagaan natin (It’s a door-to-door service. This is the directive of President Duterte to take care of our OFWs. This is to show that we will leave no one behind),” she said.

Meanwhile, Arriola said the Department of Foreign Affairs will continue these efforts in 2021 to bring more distressed Filipinos back to the Philippines.

“We stand ready po na tuluy-tuloy pa rin po ang (to still continue) repatriation,” she said.

Source: Philippines News agency

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