QUEZON CITYA delegation from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) led by DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo, on Monday welcomed the arrival of President Rodrigo R. Duterte who brought home with him some 138 returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were stranded in Middle East countries because of unresolved issues with their employers.
The OFWs were comprised of 63 women, 55 men, and 20 children. Some were stranded for only a few months, others, up to three years.
The DSWD social workers focused on the 10 mothers and the children, as well as two solo parents.
The distressed OFWs were given amnesty through the efforts of President Duterte during his trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Bahrain, and Qatar last week.
Social workers from the DSWD-Social Welfare Attache Office (SWATO) and the DSWD-National Capital Region (NCR) joined Sec. Taguiwalo to provide assistance to the returning OFWs, particularly to women and children, as part of the Duterte Administration's Sagip Sundo program.
"The hardship and the sacrifices of OFWs to help their loved ones are noble acts that those of us in government should deeply acknowledge. Our kababayans exert great effort and courage to leave their families and work in foreign lands so they will be able provide bright futures for their children and families," said Sec. Taguiwalo.
The social welfare secretary also said that the Department is improving its programs to assist the government in its ongoing repatriation program for distressed OFWs.
"We have already done the profiling of the OFWs who arrived with the President; we're now in the process of referring them to concerned DSWD Field Offices in the different regions so they can be provided with the appropriate services and interventions. Through the compassionate service of the DSWD, we hope to provide our newly-returned kababayans with timely assistance and to help them start their new lives in the Philippines," added Sec. Taguiwalo.
Sec. Taguiwalo will organize all the case reports gathered by the DSWD social workers who welcomed the OFWs and put together a plan of action to assist the OFWs as soon as they return to their respective provinces. She said that the Field Offices will assess the condition of the specific OFWs in crisis and provide them with the appropriate assistance depending on their circumstances.
"We want to emphasize that no single agency can address the problems of our OFWs. There has to be a convergence of efforts from all the national government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry, the Dept. of Labor, the Dept. of Health and the DSWD. We must all work together to give what assistance we can to help the repatriated OFWs return to their feet," she said.
For his part, Pres. Duterte provided financial assistance worth P5,000 from his office to the repatriated OFWs and promised to establish a small hospital to address the health concerns of stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) also gave P5,000 to the OFWs as additional assistance to help them return to their provinces and start anew.
Aside from the initial assistance provided by the government, the DSWD and other government agencies are planning to conduct a meeting regarding the post-repatriation services for the returnees since most of them are victims of abusive labor practices and are in need of additional services and interventions.
A delegation from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) led by DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo, earlier today welcomed the arrival of President Rodrigo R. Duterte who brought home with him some 138 returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were stranded in Middle East countries because of unresolved issues with their employers.
Source: Philippines Information Agency