Press Release
March 17, 2011

Legarda: Regular Assessment of Situations Abroad,
Vital to Contingency Planning

Senator Loren Legarda today stressed the importance of conducting regular assessments by Philippine posts abroad, particularly in countries struck by disasters and experiencing political unrest, to ensure the government's prompt action and to come up with the appropriate contingency plan for Filipinos overseas.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, made the statement in reaction to the latest directive of the Department of Foreign Affairs on the re-imposition of the travel ban to Bahrain less than a week after Philippine Overseas Employment Agency lifted the deployment ban of Filipino workers to the country.

"We see here the necessity of conducting regular assessment of the situations in many countries hosting Filipino workers. This regular monitoring by our embassies and consulates is vital not only in the issuance of warnings, including travel and employment ban, but also in contingency planning," she said.

"These contingency plans have to be reviewed and updated as the situation would warrant. In the same light, the government, through the DFA, DOLE, POEA, and OWWA, would need to assess the situation of other countries where travel bans have been issued by the government and determine if the lifting of such bans, per the parameters mandated by the Migrant Workers Act, is in order," she added.

Early last week, Legarda, through Senate Resolution 417, has called on various government agencies to assess their preparedness in ensuring the safety of the Filipinos residing and working abroad in response to the events that happened in Libya and the aftermath of the New Zealand earthquake.

"The recent events in many countries require a more pro-active approach that will enable the government to document the identity, and monitor the status and location of our nationals overseas," she stressed.

"Given the scale of Filipino migration, where at least 10% of our population reside or work overseas, every natural or man-made calamity abroad is inevitably a national concern as the safety, security and lives of Filipinos in the affected areas may be at risk," Legarda concluded.

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