President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo welcomed on Friday some 574 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) repatriated from the
The Chief Executive was joined at the
Roque said the mass repatriation was made possible through the government and private sector's partnership efforts in bringing back home troubled OFWs to reunite with their loved ones and start anew. The DBP and other corporate sponsors, he said, approached government to share in the expenses of sending home the OFWs as its way of recognizing the contributions of OFW communities to the Philippine economy.
The OFWs flew in from Jeddah,
Roque said that the government's partnership with the private sector for this particular undertaking is a non-profit activity for the private sponsors and is just a fulfillment of their corporate social responsibility.
The Labor Chief added that the private companies supporting the effort fully recognize the fact that OFW remittances are very instrumental in keeping our economy afloat.
Roque lauded the initiative of DBP as well as other corporate partners such as San Miguel Corporation, First Metro Investments Corporation, Land Bank of the
He also cited the host governments in the
The host governments, according to Roque, ably assisted in the negotiations involving the Philippine embassies and consular offices, Philippine Overseas Labor Offices, and welfare officers of OWWA with the employers in the issuance of exit visas to the repatriated workers.
Back home, OWWA will shoulder the OFWs' temporary lodging before their return to the provinces and, along with private sponsors, will share the cost of domestic transportation of the OFWs.
Roque assured the returning OFWs of a package of assistance from DOLE and OWWA including livelihood projects, counseling, skills training and re-tooling, and placement in local jobs.
Cases involving contract violations will be referred to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for immediate and appropriate action, he added.
Most of the repatriated workers had complaints of maltreatment from their employers while others complained about incorrect salaries. Nine OFWs had to be repatriated due to varying medical reasons.