Press Release
October 17, 2014

Villar wants to review the implementation of laws on OFW repatriation

Sen. Cynthia Villar stressed the need to look into the implementation of the law mandating the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers in distress.

Villar's statement stemmed from reports that the government is doing a lackluster job in repatriating OFWs in emergency situations.

"Despite the existence of provisions placing the responsibility to repatriate to the principal, employer, or agency that recruited or deployed the OFW, there are plenty of OFWs who still personally bear the cost of their own repatriation," Villar said.

"For some who do not have any other means, they are constrained to seek the help of non-government organizations and other "Good Samaritans" in order to be repatriated," she added.

Villar filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 931 which seeks an inquiry into the implementation of Republic Act 10022 or the Migrant workers and Overseas Filipinos Act, specifically the provisions on the repatriation of OFWs.

Section 15 of the law states that the cost of repatriation of the OFW shall be borne by the agency that recruited or deployed the OFW.

In addition, Section 37-A requires the compulsory insurance coverage of agency-hired workers, which covers the repatriation of the OFW in case of employment termination and for medical reasons.

Villar recalled that recently, Fr. Amado Baranquel, a Filipino priest based in Libya, has asked the Philippine government to make public all financial transactions concerning the repatriation of OFWs from Libya.

The Department of Foreign Affairs reported that P169 million was spent to rent a ship that will bring 1,500 OFWs from war-torn Libya to Malta. Some of the repatriated OFWs complained that they were not given food for two days while in transit. Another case is that of "Candice," the woman who was scalded by her Saudi employer with boiling water, who had to make a public appeal for her repatriation. "Candice" had asked private organizations like the Ople Center and the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (SIPAG) for her repatriation.

"There is a need to look into the practice of repatriating our OFWs... the procedure vis-a-vis how it is actually effected, who in fact bears the burden, and other relevant information to find a more efficient approach on their repatriation," Villar said.

The Nacionalista Party senator said the inquiry is needed to strengthen the policies, procedures, and practices of our relevant government agencies for the protection and repatriation of OFWs.

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