Monday, January 11, 2016

DFA to constantly monitor situation of OFWs on Saudi-Yemen border

The Department of Foreign Affairs has vowed to increase the frequency of sending crisis management teams to the Saudi Arabia-Yemen border to monitor the situation of overseas Filipino workers there in light of the constant bombings in the region.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said the DFA will constantly check on the condition of OFWs in Najran even as he said they have been assured of the workers’ safety by their employers.
“Ina-assure ng mga employers na they guarantee the safety ng mga OFWs doon,” he said.
President Benigno Aquino III, meanwhile, assured the affected OFWs they will be given assistance in looking for jobs should they decide to return to the Philippines.
“Walang pangamba si Sec. [Rosalinda] Baldoz na yung kung kakailanganin ay makaka-provide ang gobyerno ng retraining at tsaka job placement from these returning countrymen of ours,” he said.
An estimated 5,000 OFWs are said to be at risk due to the continued fighting between Saudi troops and rebels in Najran City.
The attacks, which supposedly began in November 20015, have prompted at least four OFWs to seek assistance from the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a non-government organization assisting distressed migrant workers.
One of the OFWs who sought help from the center told GMA News that the bombings have escalated to as much as 80 blasts being heard everyday.
“Tuluy-tuloy pa rin ang pambobomba. Noong isang beses malapit dito… Tuloy ang pagputok hanggang ngayon,” the OFW said.
While the OFWs in Najran City reportedly want to be transferred to a safer location in Saudi Arabia, recruiter John Bertiz said new migrant workers continue to be sent to the conflict-stricken region.
He said some new OFWs, especially domestic helpers, are unaware of the strife in the area.
“Ngayon kasi ang ginagamit nila RPG at improvised rocket, so hindi nila makita kung saan nanggagaling itong bumabagsak sa Najran area,” he said.
Meanwhile, the DFA said it is also monitoring the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
According to a Reuters report, Iran has accused Saudi Arabia of attacking its embassy in Yemen.
Despite brewing tension between the two countries, Jose said there is still no need for now to raise any alert level.
"Based sa monitoring namin, wala pang indication na at risk ang OFWs. Walang plans to raise alert level or impose travel restrictions," he said.  Xianne Arcangel/BM, GMA News

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