HUMIRIT ang mga kongresista sa pamahalaang Duterte na gumawa ng paraan para maiuwi ang libo-libong overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) na ilang linggo nang nabibinbin sa ibang bansa at sa Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Ayon kay House Majority Leader at Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez naghahanap ng paraan ang liderato ng Kamara na matugunan ang pag-uwi ng OFWs na stranded sa mga airport, bus terminal, at daungan.
Ani Romualdez, chairman ng House committee on rules, magkakaroon ng Imbestigasyon ang House Committee on Accounts sa pamumuno ni Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor.
“We empathize with the plight of thousands of stranded OFWs who are unemployed for months,” ani Romualdez.
Binigyang diin ni Romualdez ang kahalagahan ng dagdag na flights para makauwi ang OFWs.
“Immediately, we need to have more flights to accommodate our returning OFWs and ensure that health protocols are strictly observed for their safe travels,” ani Romualdez.
Ayon kay Defensor, iimbitahan niya ang lahat ng opisyal na may kinalaman sa kapakanan ng OFWs.
“Consistent with the directive of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano in the case of the Social Amelioration Program, we want to look into the problems plaguing the repatriation of our workers overseas, who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and find solutions,” paliwanag ni Defensor.
“We want the living as well as the dead repatriated as soon as possible. They have been stranded abroad for months,” dagdag ni Defensor.
Kasama sa mga inimbita sa pagdinig sa Kamara ang mga opisyal ng Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Transportation (DOTr), mga ambassadors na nkatalaga sa Middle East, at mga representante ng grupo ng OFWs.
Ang pagdinig ay dadalohan ng ilang kongresista pero ang karamihan ay sa pamamagitan ng video conference.
Hinimok ni Defensor ang mga OFW na makipag-ugnayan sa kanyang komite o sa Facebook page ng Anakalusugan.
Ani Defensor nakapagtataka kung bakit sobrang tagal kumilos ang mga ahensiyang may kaugnayan sa OFWs para maiuwi sila sa bansa.
“We have thousands of them in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East and Europe who have been waiting to return home since the coronavirus outbreak,” aniya.
“What are the agencies’ problems in trying to get them home? Are there no planes that can be chartered to fly them? Are there no government planes or ships that could be used? Are there sufficient repatriation and related funds? These are some of the questions we want answered,” ani Defensor.
Aniya, marami na ang namatay sa Saudi Arabia pero hindi pa naiuwi ang kanilang mga labi.
“The agencies cannot even agree on the number of fatalities. The labor department reported that there are about 280, while our embassy in Saudi Arabia claimed in a television report that there are more than 350, 100 of whom have died due to Covid-19,” aniya.
“The sight of hundreds sleeping under the NAIA tollway for days before the Army took pity on them and offered them temporary shelter them does not speak well of the agencies that should be attending to them,” ani Defensor.
“Again, we ask, are there no Air Force planes or Navy or Coast Guard vessels that could transport our workers to their provinces in Mindanao and Visayas?” tanong ni Defensor. (GERRY BALDO)