Repatriated distressed OFWs increased in 2013

Posted at 01/26/14 12:32 PM

MANILA – The number of distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been sent home and had their cases resolved increased in 2013.

This is the result of the faster processing of the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in obtaining necessary clearances, exit visas and airline tickets needed to be able to go back to the Philippines.

In a stament released Saturday, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said only 687 distressed OFWs who sought shelter at the Migrant Workers and Other Filipino Resource Centers (MWOFRC) remain, as of December 27, 2013.

This number is only 5.8 percent out of the initial 11, 828 distressed OFWs who went to the center. This figure excludes those cases that have been resolved, but whose repatriation has been delayed due to heavy bookings.

The OFWs are scheduled to arrive this month, Baldoz said.

“The number is an improvement over the 962 wards recorded as remaining in the FWRC at the end of 2012, or 8.8 percent of the 10,827 distressed OFWs who sought accommodation during that year,” she said.

The Labor department currently operates 20 POLOs with MWOFRCs.

Baldoz credited the decline to the strict implementation of her January 2013 directives.Among these are the fast-tracking of settlement cases, immediate repatriation of distressed OFWs, closer ties with Philippine embassies, rapport with licensed overseas employment providers, and improving the networking and coordination with immigration and labor offices of other countries.

The POEA now strictly implements that licensed recruitment agencies must provide airline tickets for deployment to OFWs within 48 hours upon receiving their exit visas.

Baldoz said the department's initiatives follow the directive of President Benigno Aquino III for them to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs in order to provide better service and assistance to overseas Filipino workers.