A SENATE RESOLUTION is seeking a review of the government’s handling of the repatriation program and other policies concerning returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Senate Resolution No. 497 proposed that the chamber look into the condition of the repatriated workers, claiming that assistance for displaced workers has been badly coordinated.
“There is an apparent lack of true understanding that the plight of the OFWs only begins with repatriation — that they wold need further assistance to rehabilitate and reintegrate themselves back to the society upon return to the Philippines,” Senator Leila M. de Lima said in a statement on Thursday.
“Bringing them home is but a step, not the whole process.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs reported as of Aug. 15, more than 135,000 overseas workers have been repatriated since February. This includes 52,600 seafarers and 82,651 land-based workers.
The department also said there are so far 9,900 confirmed coronavirus cases involving Filipinos overseas, including 3,300 under treatment. A total of 5,800 have recovered while more than 730 have died.
The Labor department said in June that it expects around 400,000 OFWs to be displaced by the coronavirus pandemic. Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III also said that this is expected to reduce remittances by 30%-40% this year.
Ms. de Lima said displaced OFWs who were repatriated did not fare better here than overseas, citing reports that some have had to undergo prolonged quarantine.
Others have also raised concerns on the delays and inefficiencies in testing and document processing.
“The situation of OFWs in the Philippines is fraught with too much risk and uncertainty that around 191,000 displaced OFWs have chosen to forego a return to the country and take their chances abroad instead,” she said. — Charmaine A. Tadalan