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Overseas Filipino Workers

3,000 HK OFWs get aid via action center


Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said that the government must exhaust all efforts in ensuring that aid and support are provided for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

Villanueva made the remark after attending an OFW gathering at the International Center in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, Hong Kong last Sunday, March 17, 2024 wherein more than 3,000 OFWs were able to receive medical, educational and other forms of assistance through the Tesdaman Action Center as part of his advocacy to closely reach out to Filipinos abroad.

“Dapat ilapit po ang serbisyo ng gobyerno sa bawat Pilipino saan man sila sa mundo. No Filipino should be left behind when it comes to providing immediate and adequate government services”, Villanueva, the principal sponsor and author of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Act,” he said.

The Philippine Consulate and the Migrant Workers Office (PCG-MWO) headed by Consul General Germinia V. Aguilar-Usudan was also invited to provide consular and migrant workers-related services for OFWs in Hong Kong.

According to the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA), 173,123 OFWs are working in Hong Kong, most of whom are domestic workers.

“Mahalaga pong gawing prayoridad ng pamahalaan ang kapakanan at proteksyon ng ating mga bagong bayani na lubos na nagsasakripisyo para sa kani-kanilang mga pamilyang naiwan sa Pilipinas,” he stressed.

Villanueva was among the lawmakers who advocated for the inclusion in the 2024 National Budget of P 1 billion for the Agarang Kalinga at Saklolo para sa mga OFW na Nangangailangan (AKSYON) Fund under the budget of the DMW, P 1 billion for the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) fund and P 200 million for the Legal Assistance fund under the budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for the provision of for legal, medical, financial and other forms of assistance, including repatriation, evacuation, rescue and other necessary interventions to protect Filipinos abroad.

The Senate Majority Leader also pushed for the increase in the budget of the Medical Assistance Program of the Department of Health to ensure that funding is available to almost 900 hospitals in the country, including the OFW hospital which caters specifically to OFWs and their families.

“Being there for our OFWs is our way of recognizing their hardships and deeds, not only for their families, but for the country and economy as well,” he said.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, personal remittances from OFWs amounted to USD 37.2 billion, accounting for 8.5 % of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2023.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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