SEAFARERS' partylist group Angkla has welcomed the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to provide booster shots for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) set for deployment within the next four months.

The group, however, underscored that for the policy to be more effective, OFWs must be given vaccines that are recognized in the countries where Filipinos will be deployed.

According to former representative Jesulito Manalo, who is also the first nominee of the group, they welcome the IATF decision allowing Covid-19 booster shots for OFWs and seafarers, as this ensures no delay in the continuing deployment of Filipino seafarers to the world.

Manalo also mentioned that the policy will ensure that the country will maintain its status as the top provider of global maritime professionals, as cited by no less than the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Angkla Vice Chairman Captain Ronald Enrile, meanwhile, called for the prioritization of OFWs and seafarers in getting universally-recognized vaccines.

“As we commend the IATF on their new booster policy, we reiterate our request that OFWs and seafarers should be inoculated with universal vaccines recognized in their countries of deployment,” he said, adding that this ensures seamless seafarer deployment and allows their families and communities to continue recovering from the impact of the pandemic.

Manalo, who also chairs Angkla, added that “most of us already know the crucial role of OFWs and seafarers in our economy. We know how their remittances contribute to our life as a nation.”

“We are hoping that the government will help them help our economy,” he added. (PR)