MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered government agencies handling the concerns of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to give immediate livelihood and educational assistance to the 128 repatriated workers who arrived Wednesday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
The President’s order was given to help the OFWs survive as they start a new life in the country.
President Duterte led government officials in greeting the OFWs who are considered as modern day heroes.
“Welcome to your country,” he said.
The overseas workers, who arrived after a 15-hour flight, were overwhelmed and teary-eyed as they were personally received by the President at the arrival area of NAIA.
The President also vowed to give each of the workers PHP5,000, aside from the livelihood package.
He assured them that his administration, through Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, will help in claiming their back wages and separation pays.
He further told them that their present economic condition allows them to enroll in the government’s 4Ps program, adding that with the help of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), they could put up businesses under the department’s program for small and medium enterprises.
Duterte also mentioned the government’s anti-drug campaign and advised them not to take drugs.
He announced that he will be establishing an OFW Bank to sustain the government’s financial support to the OFWs, who contribute a huge chunk to the country’s economy.
He also said the country’s economy is doing well. “We are not really exceeding the expectations, but we are on target sa ating (in our) growth. We have hit a phenomenal of 7, but it’s not something to crow about, we have to do more,” he said.
“We are not so bad actually, okay naman ang ekonomiya natin. Maghintay-hintay lang kayo. Bigyan niyo lang ako ng konting panahon. Aayusin ko lang and ekonomiya, may opportunity for you to work here,” he added.
(“We are not so bad actually. Our economy is okay. Just wait. Give me some time and I will fix the economy and there will be opportunities for you to work here,” he added.)
The President related that upon hearing of the OFWs’ plight, he wanted to go to Saudi Arabia and see them personally to supervise their repatriation, but was advised otherwise. He also expressed sadness over the reported death of two OFWs.
He said the government has the resources to help OFWs who encounter problems and he will see to it that help will come to the sector. PNA/northboundasia.com