Estrada mourns death of two OFWs in war-torn Israel; reminds DMW to use its repatriation fund

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada on Wednesday, October 11 expressed his deep sympathies to the families and loved ones of the two overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were killed following the attack of Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel.

“The tragic deaths of two OFWs in Israel are a grim occurrence, and we offer our deepest sympathies to their families and loved ones. We must stand ready to provide immediate assistance and support to our kababayans affected by the ongoing tension in Israel,” Estrada said in a statement.

Estrada, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment, said the government should ensure that all necessary aid reaches them, “not only the victims of the violence but also their families.”

“Hinihimok ko ang ating mga kababayan na agad makipag-ugnayan sa embahada sa Tel Aviv para sa agarang tulong at impormasyon (I urge our fellowmen there to immediately coordinate with the embassy in Tel Aviv for immediate help and information),” Estrada said. 

“May sapat na pondo ang gobyerno para maisakatuparan ang pag-uwi sa ating mga kababayan (The government has sufficient funds to expedite the return of our compatriots),” he said. 

The senator also said there is P8.9-billion allocation under the Emergency Repatriation Fund (ERF) that is lodged under the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) for the 2023. 

According to Estrada, around P693.5-million or seven (7) percent of the funds have only been utilized.

“Nasa kabuuang P9.1 bilyon ang nakaantabay na gastusin para tustusan ang agaran nilang pag-uwi (There is still P9-billion that can be used to fund their immediate repatriation),” the lawmaker said.

“To the families of the two OFWs, our hearts go out to you in your time of grief. May you find the strength to face this ordeal. Our entire nation mourns with you,” he added.