THE GOVERNMENT needs to ensure that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Israel find jobs in the Philippines once they are evacuated from the war zone, labor groups said.
“It is imperative for the government to ensure that our workers can be repatriated whenever they want to and I think that’s what the DMW (Department of Migrant Workers) is trying to do now,” Josua T. Mata, secretary general of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, said in a Viber message.
“After all, the country has yet to have a real reintegration program for our OFWs.”
The Palestinian organization Hamas, which controls Gaza, breached the Israeli border wall and attacked nearby settlements, killing over a thousand, including civilians.
Israel has since declared war on Hamas.
On Wednesday, the government announced its intention to support OFWs affected by the war.
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Chief Arnell A. Ignacio said that 90% of Filipinos in Israel work as caregivers, 8% are permanent residents, 497 are student-interns and 19 tourists.
Migrant Workers Undersecretary Hans Leo J. Cacdac said 313 Filipinos in southern Israel near the Gaza border had marked themselves “safe” on Google.
“The government must develop comprehensive reintegration programs that offer livelihood opportunities, skills training, and employment support for OFWs returning to the Philippines,” Jose G. Matula, president of the Federation of Free Workers, said in a Viber message.
He also called on the Department of Foreign Affairs and the DMW to fast-track the repatriation of OFWs who request evacuation.
“We believe that the government, in cooperation with other stakeholders, should take the necessary steps to ensure that OFWs receive the assistance they require,” Mr. Matula said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez