February 1, 2011
Migrante International, global alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), today asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to look into reports that some OFWs in Egypt are not in possession of their passports.
According to Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, their office has been receiving reports from OFWs in Egypt who are worried because they have surrendered their passports to their employers upon arrival.
Filipino nurses and workers employed by the Dar Al Fouad Hospital in Giza, for instance, have already packed their bags and are awaiting evacuation but their passports are still being withheld by the hospital.
They said that they have been trying to contact the DFA Hotline but it has been unreachable since yesterday.
Where is P100M emergency repatriation fund from OWWA?
Martinez also said that apart from the P25 million allotted by the DFA for the emergency evacuation of OFWs in Egypt, the Migrants’ Act also directs the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to allocate P100 million as emergency repatriation funds.
RA10022 or the amended Migrants’ Act stipulates that “the OWWA, in coordination with appropriate international agencies, shall undertake the repatriation of workers in cases of war, epidemic, disasters or calamities, natural or man-made, and other similar events.”
Further, “there is hereby created and established an emergency repatriation fund under the administration control and supervision of the OWWA, initially to consist of one hundred million pesos (P100,000,000.00), inclusive of outstanding balances.”
“Where are the funds now? We demand that the OWWA immediately release the emergency repatriation fund to assist not only our OFWs in Egypt but also other Filipino nationals who are in need of immediate repatriation,” Martinez said.
Chairperson, Migrante International