Philippines: More OFWs Availing of Special Repatriation Program

Apr. 24, 2007

MANILA — Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who wish to return to the Philippines but cannot do so for various reasons are now provided a window of opportunity through the governments Special Repatriation Program (SRP), Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Arturo Brion said today.

The SRP, according to Brion, is a salient feature of Republic Act No. 8042 otherwise known as The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 that aims to protect the rights of OFWs.

In a press briefing in Malaca?ang, Brion said that more than 1,000 OFWs have already availed themselves of the SRP since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo met with officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the release of stranded Filipinos there during her visit to the KSA in May 2006.

Brion said 379 more OFWs who have been stranded in their host countries for various reasons ranging from being victims of illegal recruitment and unpaid salaries to maltreatment, physical abuse, harassment and health reasons are coming home under the SRP.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is expected to personally meet the first batch of 108 OFWs arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal I in Pasay City from Riyadh this afternoon.

Brion said the OFWs will undergo a series of debriefings and profiling processes of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the DoLE so that the government agencies can properly determine their needs and how they can provide them with assistance.

The OFWs will also be brought to the DoLEs newly-opened National Reintegration Center in Intramuros, Manila to equip them with skills and knowledge to go back to the mainstream.

“We will offer them the whole array of possibilities for a new life in the Philippines,” Brion said, referring to the retraining OFWs may undergo for further overseas work, local employment or entrepreneurial opportunities. (OPS)

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