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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo has called on the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to immediately release its emergency funds for the livelihood of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) facing repatriation.

Castelo made the remarks amidst the developing geo-political crisis in the Middle East, particularly the ongoing conflict between Iran and the United States.

Castelo warned that more than a million OFWs are feared to lose their jobs and return home without any means to support their families as a result of the geo-political tension in the said region following the successful assassination by the American Government on Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad, Iraq recently.

“TESDA has to use its available resources to roll out its livelihood training projects so that our OFWs can have something to rely on as soon as they arrive in the country,” said Castelo.

Soleimani, commander of the elite division of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—the Quds Force—was killed after the Pentagon-sponsored drone strike upon orders of US President Donald Trump.

Castelo stressed that “TESDA should be at the forefront of the campaign to rescue the beleaguered OFWs by offering them alternative but viable income opportunities.

There are around 1.2 million OFWs working in the so-called Gulf States led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain.

Meanwhile, Castelo lauded government plans for the evacuation of OFWS in Iran and Iraq. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recently announced it will sends troops to assist in the repatriation of OFWs.

“That the government is sending our biggest aircraft and ships to bring home our modern heroes is a welcome news,” said Castelo.

“But we also need to make sure that they won’t be displaced once they are back. We have to give them jobs,” she added.

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