The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) admitted that the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are faced with different factors.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the sending Filipinos home from the host countries, is not that easy since there are other equally important factors that need to be followed.
“In repatriating our OFWs, we also have to consider the lockdowns imposed by countries where they are working,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
He said the “lock-ins” and “lock-outs” in infected nations are still major stumbling blocks in the process even if the Philippines opens its doors to migrant workers amid its own restrictions to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
Another factor to be considered, he said are the legal impediments tied to the exit visas, loans, and cases of OFWs who want to go home.
“It really gets frustrating when foreign employers refuse to give the exit visas of our OFWs to stop them from returning to the Philippines. There are many employers like that abroad,” he said.
“Repatriation of OFWs also becomes difficult to achieve when they still have loans to settle and complaints to face,” Bello added.
He said bigger funding will not bring home displaced migrant workers in the absence of other equally important factors.
Bello together with other officials attended a hybrid public hearing of the House Public Accounts Committee chaired by Rep. Mike Defensor on Friday regarding the challenges experienced by OFWs affected by the pandemic.
House Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Ray “LRay” Villafuerte pushed for more funds to boost government efforts to bring home the trouble migrant workers.
Bello added that the best solution to the problem of OFWs is still the tightly coordinated efforts of all concerned government agencies and the private sector. (PNA)