Press Release
March 11, 2011

Legarda: Intensify Teamwork Among Gov't Agencies
For Swift Action On OFWs' Concerns

Senator Loren Legarda today said that various government agencies, particularly the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Labor and Employment, must synergize their efforts to give immediate assistance to overseas Filipinos returning to the country.

"Our embassies and consulates abroad must continue to monitor political developments in their respective territorial assignments particularly in the Middle East, and must be prepared to adopt contingency measures even before things get worse," she said.

"Meanwhile the Department of Labor must focus on job placements and skills matching for returning OFWs," she added.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that as several countries in the Middle East and Africa, such as Libya and Yemen, continue to face political unrest, more OFWs in said nations would feel the need or be compelled to return to the country for their own safety. However, their future remains uncertain with their abrupt displacement.

"We hear stories of returning OFWs who were not able to bring anything with them. They are now home and safe with their families; they are now safe from the dangers they could have met had they stayed abroad. But now they will have to face the threats of being unemployed. These OFWs are the breadwinners of their families and they will have to find a way to immediately get back to work," she stressed.

Legarda explained that labor agencies such as Public Employment Service Offices (PESO), which are maintained largely by local government units, should help DOLE in job matching, while the skills training programs of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) must be fully utilized. Funds from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) must be used for these programs.

"There must be a concerted effort among the various government agencies concerned to swiftly address the needs of our returning OFWs. These Filipinos have contributed much in saving our economy. It is time that we give back to them all the necessary support and assistance that they greatly deserve," Legarda concluded.

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