Friday, February 12, 2016

Pro-OFW group alarmed over DFA chief's resignation amid MidEast crisis

A pro-OFW group on Wednesday expressed alarm over the resignation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario in the face of the reported mass retrenchment of OFWs in the Middle East.
"While his reasons for quitting may be personal and we respect that, we are anxious about its repercussions now that we are faced with an imminent catastrophic situation wherein millions of OFWs in the Middle East may face mass retrenchment and repatriation," said Garry Martinez of Migrante party-list in a statement.
"With Del Rosario’s resignation, how can the government assure our OFWs and their families that it will be ready for an imminent crisis in the Middle East? Kumbaga sa karera, nagpalit ng driver sa kagitnaan ng byahe," Martinez said.
Though the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has already denied that there is a massive retrenchment of OFWs in the Middle East, Migrante is still urging the government to come up with a definite plan to address a possible OFW crisis in the Middle East.
"There remains no clear blueprint from the Philippine government on what it plans to do in the event of massive retrenchment and displacement of migrant workers," said Martinez, the group's first nominee.
"Like before, the government is downplaying the potentially collosal consequences of the crisis on the lives and welfare of our OFWs, not to mention its negative effects on the domestic economy," he added.
There are two million OFWs in the Middle East, most of them in Saudi Arabia, which suffered a record high state deficit last year due to crashing oil prices.
The Saudi Arabian government had announced several economic reforms, including budget cuts and austerity measures.
Baldoz said there has been a 1.11-percent decrease in job orders from Saudi Arabia in the last two months —  or 2,621 in December 2015 to 2,346 in January 2016.
Decrease in jobs orders were also reported by Philippine labor officials in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Migrante party-list has recently launched a "crisis hotline" for OFWs who will be affected in the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. The hotline can be reached through mobile number 0932-5829439 or email address mideastcrisishotline@gmail.com. —KBK, GMA News

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