PAMPANGA

Pangan: Locally stranded individuals

At Close Range

PITY those OFWs who were hoping to fly out of the country in order to fulfill their job commitments and start earning for themselves, their families and the country.

Remember, their combined remittances helped shore up our economy when it was buffeted by negative factors. It is their remittances that helped the country stay afloat and stable. Our international reserves remain formidable due to their dollar remittances.

And now, their sorry plight such as living under expressways while waiting for their bookings to be confirmed and finally able to leave through their overseas flights.

Some of them, numbering in the hundreds, became frustrated that their bookings were never confirmed and alas and alack, they remain clueless, penniless and without direction.

So far, many of these distressed OFWs remain under the expressways, hoping against hope to be given the chance to leave for abroad and gainfully work.

It is a very pathetic sight to behold hopeful OFWs waiting and living under pitiful conditions and to think OWWA, or Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is mandated by law to care for them while in limbo. But this agency seems to be helpless in addressing the sorry plight of the OFWs and remain just a curious bystander while the OFWs fend themselves and await help from some kindhearted motorists and charitable people.

***

Then this report: There are nearly 230,000 Filipino seamen and workers on cargo ships and luxury liners across the globe, many of whom would find themselves stranded on their ships or in foreign countries as international travel, and the world economy, shuddered to a halt.

To all the disruptions, do the Department of Labor and Employment and OWWA have contingency measures to back stop the needs and worries of OFWs, land-based or sea-based?

I fear that these two agencies tasked to look after the welfare of the OFWs have no sufficient contingency measures to adequately address the needs of our modern day heroes? If they have, how would you explain their being stranded in all places? Sus.

The editorial of Philippine Daily Inquirer dated June 26, 2020 explains partly the predicament of our OFWs: The situation for many OFWs has been wrenching. Those who have managed to return home had to endure official neglect and ineptness. Others struck abroad also go through harrowing ordeals: jobless workers in Saudi Arabia have resorted to selling their blood to be able to buy food! How pathetic, really...


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