Press Release
August 8, 2022

Tulfo: Gov't should have contingency plans for OFWs amid China-Taiwan tensions

Senator Idol Raffy Tulfo urged the national government and other concerned agencies to come up with a contingency plan for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) should the tension between the Peoples Republic of China and Taiwan escalates.

Tulfo, who is set to lead the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers, said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Philippine Overseas Labor & Office (POLO) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should come up with a coordinated plan to ensure the safety of Filipino workers in Taiwan and other neighboring countries.

"The tension between China and Taiwan is not something to be taken lightly. Dapat ngayon pa lamang ay gumagawa na ng contingency plan ang DFA, OWWA, at POLO in the event na lumala ang problemang ito. This is the perfect time for government agencies to show their united force by working together for the safety and security of our workers abroad," he said.

There are reportedly around 200,000 OFWs in Taiwan.

"In my experience of helping OFWs in the past two decades, the government agencies, oftentimes, were very reactive instead of proactive. Kapag nandiyan na ang gulo at problema, yung tipong na-stuck na ang OFWs sa ibang bansa, wala ng pera at makain, tsaka lamang sila kikilos. Hindi dapat ganoon!

"Ngayon pa lamang, dapat kumilos na tayo at 'wag nang antaying lumala pa ang sitwasyon bago tayo umaksyon. We should be ready to evacuate OFWs in the event that the current situation escalates into a war," he added.

Based on media reports, China conducted a large-scale military drill in six areas surrounding Taiwan Strait after the visit of United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on August 2.

The Taiwanese government reported some Chinese fighter jets passed through the median lines in the Strait despite firm statements of condemnation by the United States, Japan and the European Union.

In preparing for a contingency plan, Tulfo said the concerned government agencies, in coordination with the national government, should consider many factors, including the safety and funding assistance for OFWs.

"The situation for OFWs in Taiwan is fraught with too much risk and many Filipino workers are now worried about their future abroad. Una nating kailangang siguraduhin ay ang kaligtasan ng OFWs dahil napakahalaga ng buhay ng bawat isa sa kanila," he said.

"The national government should provide enough funding assistance to all Filipino workers to ensure that they can smoothly re-enter the country once they are evacuated," he added.

Sen. Tulfo, who is known for championing the rights of OFWs, is also the main anchor of a long existing top-rated radio program "Wanted sa Radyo." Thousands of people flock to his radio show, including present and past OFWs, to seek for his help.

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