The Iloilo Provincial Government, together with the national government agencies, eyes the establishment of a ‘help desk’ to attend to the concerns of Overseas Filipino Workers in the Middle East. This is in response to the increasing tension between United States and Iran, following a US missile strike that killed one of Iran’s top officials.
The help desk is spearheaded by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr, together with Iloilo Vice Government Christine Garin and regional directors of the Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
All agreed to set a help desk at Capitol grounds to answer questions from conflict areas. According to data by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, there are 25 Ilonggo OFWs in Iran and five in Iraq.
“It is not only Iran and Iraq that are involved now. We have a sphere of influence which will cover other Middle East countries so we are anticipating repatriation of more OFWs and we consider the levels they need to communicate with their families here in the province,” states Iloilo Provincial Administrator Suzette Mamon, in an article by the Philippine News Agency.
According to Mamon, the Migration and Development Committee will also be activated. The said committee will respond in the event that there will be mandated repatriation on areas at level 4.
“Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon are on level 4, that is mandated repatriation, meaning to say all workers of course, documented and undocumented, needs to be evacuated,” adds Mamon. She also revealed that the committee will facilitate economic provision of displaced OFWs and will look into measures to help them be integrated in the local labor.