"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Thursday, August 03, 2006

DFA and DOLE must look for alternative employment for displaced OFWs in Lebanon

Senator Richard Gordon yesterday called for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to begin looking for alternative employment for the displaced Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Lebanon.

“Though it is important to address the immediate needs of our countrymen by making sure that they are out of harm’s way, it is equally important to look into safeguarding their future,” said Gordon.

The Senator suggested scouting for employment opportunities in adjacent areas like Cyprus or European countries such as Greece because some Filipinos would rather stay in Lebanon because they feel that they will not be able to find a job in the Philippines.

“Most of the OFWs in Lebanon are domestic helpers, hotel and restaurant staff and technicians. This may be a good time for DOLE to conduct trainings or short-term courses to upgrade their skills so that they will be more competitive in the international job market,” said Gordon.

Gordon also asked the DOLE and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to give an account of just how many Filipino workers are still in Lebanon. And what is being done to quickly evacuate them from that war-torn country in the Middle East.

Gordon suggested an intensified information campaign among the Filipinos to inform them of the plans for evacuation. He also proposed the establishment of an up-to-date database and locator system of OFWs for their repatriation and asked that the Filipino refugees be made to fill forms to give their personal data, such as contact numbers and residence in Lebanon to serve as data base for a more methodical and rapid evacuation.