By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Senator Risa Hontiveros wants a review of the government’s plans to reintegrate overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families who have been displaced by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Dapat may malinaw tayong plano para tugunan ang financial, medical at mental health needs ng dumaraming bilang ng OFW na bumabalik sa bansa,” said Hontiveros.
Hontiveros recently filed Senate Resolution No. 445, which calls for an inquiry into government’s return and reintegration plans for OFWs amid “the substantial influx of Filipino migrant workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic returning to the Philippines.”
Hontiveros stressed that the government “must have a comprehensive plan in place” to address the needs of the around 300,000 OFWs expected to return home to the Philippines this year due to the global pandemic brought by the dreaded COVID-19 virus.
She said the government’s return and reintegration programs take the needs of OFWs and their families into account in developing and implementing financial aid programs for households in distress, mental health and psycho-social services, and medical assistance in relation to COVID-19, as well as the inclusion of mandatory testing.
“Dapat may long-term assistance din sa kanilang kabuhayan at kalusugan ngayong marami ang matagal pa o hindi na makakabalik sa kanilang trabaho abroad,” she added.
According to Hontiveros, the government must be ready to provide ample livelihood assistance to OFWs, particularly female workers, who are likely to suffer more from the loss of jobs and livelihood brought by the pandemic.
The senator also stressed that government’s efforts must extend to “social and mental health assistance” for OFW families dealing with the sudden return and reintegration of their OFW family members into their households and communities.
“Government has to help our OFWs overcome these unseen but important issues,” she said.