Press Release
June 7, 2017

Sen. Bam: Ensure livelihood program for OFWs affected by Qatar crisis

A senator urged the government to create livelihood opportunities for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the deployment ban to Qatar amid the ongoing diplomatic crisis hounding the Middle East country.

"Ngayon pa lang, dapat nang paghandaan ang mga posibleng epekto ng krisis sa Qatar sa ating OFWs, lalo na sa kanilang kabuhayan," said Sen. Bam Aquino.

"Dapat mabigyan ng pansamantalang pagkakakitaan ang mga naapektuhan ng deployment ban at iba pa nating mga kababayan na posibleng bumalik sa Pilipinas dahil sa nangyari," he added.

Several neighboring countries, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, have severed their diplomatic ties with Qatar over allegations that it supports extremist groups, including ISIS.

The senator also called on the government to prepare for any eventuality that might affect OFWs and other Filipinos residing in Qatar.

"Posibleng magkaroon ito ng epekto sa overseas Filipino workers at iba pang mga Pinoy sa Doha at iba pang bahagi ng Qatar kaya marapat na itong paghandaan ng pamahalaan," Sen. Bam said.

"Dapat ding alamin ng embahada sa Qatar ang sitwasyon ng mga Pilipino roon upang matiyak ang kanilang kapakanan at mga pangunahing pangangailangan," he added.

Sen. Bam filed Senate Bill No. 648 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Assistance Act to boost support for the OFW community and the families they leave back home.

If passed into law, the measure integrates programs on livelihood, entrepreneurship, savings, investments and financial literacy to the existing efforts of embassies to equip OFWs with knowledge to start their own business.

In a survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) last September 2015, only 38.2 pecrcent of the 563 household-respondents said that a portion of the money from OFWs are set aside for savings.

Aside from the livelihood aspect, Senate Bill No. 648 mandates the Public Attorney's Office to establish a help desk in every international port of exit in the Philippines to offer legal service, assistance and advice to departing migrant workers.

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