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Monday, February 01, 2010

DOLE assistance to Filipino repatriates from Haiti assured

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque assured that all forms of
assistance will be provided to the returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)
from Haiti.

"We will extend whatever assistance that is available for them," Roque said,
following the arrival of additional five (5) OFWs (Victor Torrizo, Viccina
Torrizo, Allan Vincent Torrizo, Badette Villagracia and Art Raymart
Villagracia) on Saturday, comprising the second batch that the government
repatriated from the quake-devastated country.

Roque said he has already directed OWWA and the regional offices of DOLE to
use every means necessary to make sure that the welfare of these OFWs will
be well-taken cared of.

"I have also tasked all the concerned agencies of the Department to conduct
a needs assessment analysis to the repatriates to identify the kinds of
assistance they need," the Labor Chief added, as he stressed the importance
of this process to fast-track the provision of the necessary assistance.

He said, DOLE will explore every possible effort to retrain and retool these
OFWs to make them more competitive in the future and ready for possible
deployment to other countries.

The first batch of Filipino repatriates from the quake-ravaged country of
Haiti arrived last Friday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)
Terminal II on board PAL Flight PR 103. They are Gregorio Bacurin, Donna
Bacurin, Rucelle Cruz, Sonny Maning, Rosario Santos and Mikaela Santos.

Roque said, the repatriates underwent a debriefing session and brought to
the doorsteps of their homes for a well-deserved rest.

Ordeal in Haiti

"Nabagsakan ang kamay at paa ko ng semento habang nasa third floor ako ng
opisina. Gumuho ang buong building namin at gumapang lang ako sa isang
maliit na butas kaya ako nakaligtas," said Donna Bacurin, with tears rolling
down her cheeks as she was being given first aid treatment by the Red Cross.

She added that she was not even given the chance to have an x-ray because
many hospitals were either destroyed or already filled with badly-injured
people. "Kaya nga, napakalaki ng aking pagpapasalamat sa Department of Labor
at Philippine government sa kanilang magandang ginawa," she said.

On the other hand, Rosario Santos, mentioned that she has just went for a
gas refill, when the quake completely destroyed the facility, instantly
killing everyone on site. "Maraming salamat sa gobyerno natin sa
napakagandang pag-handle nila sa amin noong nasa Haiti kami, hindi nila kami
pinabayaan," Santos added.

Gregorio Bacurin, husband of Donna pointed out that he saw lifeless bodies
lined-up on the streets of Port au Prince, while the government of Haiti
struggled to put order to the chaotic scene of the quake.

"Hindi pa nga kami halos natutulog simula noong nagkalindol kasi natatakot
kami, baka kasi magkaroon ng aftershock at madisgrasya kami," he added.

He also revealed that they were sleeping in an open lot beside their house
for fear that their house might collapse anytime an aftershock hits.

"Nagkaroon din ng patrolya ang mga kalalakihan sa aming Filipino community
doon para maprotektahan ang aming komunidad at mahadlangan ang mga
magnanakaw na nagkalat sa paligid," he further said.

He exclaimed that he is very happy to finally return safe and sound here in
the Philippines, as he expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the DOLE, OWWA,
DFA and the Philippine government for bringing them back home.

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