Press Release
August 3, 2010


Senator Loren Legarda, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations today said she will push for the immediate activation of Overseas Filipino Workers Help Desks in our Philippine embassies, consulates and missions all over the world.

"These OFW 24/7 Help Desks should be of service 24 hours, seven days a week to be a reliable and response - ready link for the millions of Filipinos who have sought employment in foreign lands, forced to adapt to new cultures and environments, especially the numerous distressed who are maltreated by their employers just to give their families a better life here at home."

Legarda cited. "At present, there is an estimated 8.7 to 11 million Overseas Filipinos worldwide, equivalent to about 11% of the total population."

"There are persistent reports of Overseas Filipino Workers, both blue collar and white collar, facing significant obstacles including illegal recruitment, mysterious deaths, racial profiling, racial discrimination and kidnapping."

"In some countries, such as in Singapore and in Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, OFWs have complained that their compensations were withheld, while others have had their documents confiscated or stolen."

"Domestic helpers have been physically and sexually abused, made into "drug mules" and even murdered. Well-known cases include those of Flor Contemplacion and Sarah Balabagan."

"Our OFW 24/7 Help Desks should be their "home away from home" facilitating the quick deliverance of assistance," Legarda stressed.

"An estimated 3,700 OFWs are now leaving daily to work abroad as the OFW - related problems continue to pour in."

"Our Philippine embassy, consulates and missions to whose care our Overseas Filipino Workers are entrusted must implement measures and reorganize staffing responsibilities to make possible this 24 hour 7 day a week assistance."

Legarda concluded, "With these OFW 24/7 Help Desks, we hope there will be no more arrivals in our airports of battered OFWs in wheelchairs and coffins."

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