(MANILA BULLETIN) The Philippine government has enough funds to cover for the repatriation of about 150,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan in case the China-Taiwan situation deteriorates.
Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, said two-thirds of this year’s budget of the newly-established Department of Migrant Workers (DMW)–equivalent to P10.6 billion–had been earmarked for services of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), including the Emergency Repatriation Program.
‘’This is more than enough to cover the repatriation of an estimated 200,000 OFWs currently in Taiwan, if the government is forced to have their safe return home,’’ he said.
Estrada said It would be prudent on the part of the government to always have contingency plans for Filipinos living and working not only in Taiwan but anywhere in the world if evacuation is needed.
He also said the Chinese Embassy already clarified that Ambassador Huang Xilian’s remarks concerning OFWs in Taiwan were misquoted, misunderstood, or taken out of context.
‘’All things considered; we expect our concerned agencies to put in place strategic plans in case of any eventuality. The safety and well-being of our kababayans (countrymen) abroad should always be our primordial concern,’’ he pointed out.
He said he does not see anything wrong if the government plans for any unforeseen event as the Philippines hopes that diplomacy and dialogue would prevail between China and Taiwan.
‘’We must, however, exhaust all means to ensure that our OFWs are safe,’’ he added.