Press Release
July 17, 2006


Senator Manny Villar, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, expressed concern over the plight of thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in various parts of the world particularly in Lebanon, Malaysia and Somalia.

"While it's a big relief to know that the twenty Filipino seamen who were held hostage by pirates in Somalia has been freed, we still have a lot distressed OFWs worldwide particularly the 30,000 in Lebanon. I urge the concerned authorities or agencies to extend their utmost assistance to our OFWs during these distressful times."

As this develops, OFWs in war-torn Lebanon are still facing a difficult time leaving Beirut as bombing of escape routes continues.

"It's good to know that the embassy and the members of the Middle East Preparedness Team in Lebanon seem to doing their best to bring OFWs in Lebanon to safety and they have found Catholic churches that can serve as evacuation centers. Let us just hope that all of our OFWs will be able to escape the strife-torn areas in Lebanon and more safe havens will be found to accommodate all of them."

"These are really difficult and distressful times for many OFWs, even workers in Malaysia are facing turmoil of their own. Our embassy and consulate officials and staff should be on alert all the time and ready to give assistance and support to our OFWs and their families."

"Likewise, we should be ready to welcome them back and help them to get reintegrated if worse comes to worst and they need to be evacuated or deported. We are talking of tens of thousands of OFWs here who are in danger of getting displaced from their jobs, so much preparation is really needed."

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