By Marita Moaje

REPATRIATES. The second batch of overseas Filipino workers from Israel, composed of 14 caregivers and four hotel workers, arrives at the NAIA Terminal 3 via Etihad flight EY 424 on Friday (Oct. 20,2023).  The Department of Migrant Workers assured that each of the returning OFW will receive cash and livelihood assistance, as well as psychosocial and medical assistance.  (Photo courtesy of DMW) 

MANILA – A total of 18 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the escalating Israel-Hamas conflict arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Friday through government intervention.

Of the total, 14 of them are caregivers while the other four are hotel workers.

Representatives from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Department of Foreign Affairs, and other concerned government agencies welcomed the second batch of repatriates, assuring them of various assistance and aid.

“As directed by the President, the DMW, the OWWA, and all our other partner government agencies will receive our OFWs and help them through this challenging time, especially the trauma and stress they endured,” DMW Undersecretary Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones told reporters at the NAIA.

“Sa pamamagitan ng ‘whole of government approach’, matagumpay na naka-uwi ng ligtas sa bansa ang ikalawang batch ng ating mga kababayang galing sa Israel (Through the whole of government approach, the second batch of Filipinos from Israel arrived in the country safely),” she said.

Allones said  each returning OFW from Israel will receive cash assistance worth PHP50,000 from the DMW and another PHP50,000 from OWWA.

They will also receive skills training vouchers and additional financial assistance from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), as well as psychosocial evaluation and assessment services from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The DOH will also conduct an initial physical and medical examination on the returning OFWs, while those who need further medical assistance will be provided with additional referral services.

Returning OFWs with school-aged children will also receive financial assistance from the DSWD.

Meanwhile, the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) and the OWWA are set to provide various livelihood training, skills, and capacity-building interventions for those who decide to stay in the country for good. 

Those who want to look for other work will also be assisted.

“We are prepared to provide all the necessary assistance and support services for our kababayans (compatriots) who opted to return voluntarily and flee the violence as a result of the Israel-Hamas conflict,” DMW Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac said in a statement Friday.

Cacdac is currently in Saudi Arabia as part of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s entourage for the ASEAN-GCC Summit in Riyadh.

On Wednesday, the first batch of 16 returning OFWs, composed of 15 caregivers, a hotel worker, and a one-month-old infant arrived in the country.  (PNA)