SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
26 June 2020 11:08:58 PM
With the rapidly growing number of distressed and displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the House Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Rep. Michael Defensor convened on Friday for a briefing on the whole of government approach on its migration policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his opening statement, Speaker Alan Peter “Compañero” Cayetano called on the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and other government agencies to unite in creating an integrated and unified approach in assisting OFWs. The Speaker stressed that it is important the executive agencies are “integrated at nag-uusap.” He noted that the main issues needing most urgent attention are relief, repatriation, recovery, return, and reintegration. Meanwhile, the committee got assurance from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines that it will prioritize flights of repatriating Filipinos over commercial flights. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Arriola welcomed the development as it will allow the DFA to bring home up to 14,000 OFWs per week. This is more than double the 6,000 OFWs per week it was previously able to repatriate when their chartered flights were given clearance only three days a week. Other resource persons who joined the hearing were Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto, Philippine Ambassador to UAE AHjayceelyn Aurora Quintana, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac, and CAAP Deputy Director General for Operations/ Flight Standards and Inspectorate Service Capt.Donaldo Mendoza, among others.