Press Release
March 2, 2011


In a recent interview, Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on the government to keep pace with the troubles in the Middle East to lessen the negative impact on OFWs and on our economy, especially with the rise in crude oil prices.

"We must change our strategy: we should learn to anticipate instead of waiting and then reacting to the events. There must be a sense of urgency in the face of such a serious global situation," he said.

He says that there are two major and inevitable effects of the unrest in the Middle East for the Filipinos.

"First, it will directly affect the OFWs currently based in Middle Eastern countries. These people might be put out of their jobs if the problem continues; and on the other hand, they might be put into harm's way if they stay.

"Second, an offshoot of the turmoil in these countries is the impact it will have on our economy. The region supplies much of the world's crude oil, and as an oil-dependent country, the rise of oil prices would translate into higher transportation fares, then higher food prices and an overall increase in the cost of living. This would ultimately give an unneeded boost to our inflation rates, sure to be felt first by the poverty-stricken," he explained.

According to Angara, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the administration should take pro-active measures so that the country's people and economy stay safe.

"This is an expected domino-effect. First Tunisia, then Egypt, then Bahrain and the other lands in the Gulf area. A lot of Filipinos work in these countries, and I believe that it's time to put the funds of the OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) to good use, providing a way back to the Philippines and helping the OFWs once they get here," he asserted.

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