PRESS RELEASE: 22 MARCH 2012 (Thursday)
Another batch of eleven (11) OFWs from conflict-torn Syria will arrive today, Thursday, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) via Etihad Airways flight EY 424 at 4:10 P.M., the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) today said. The repatriated workers have availed of the mandatory repatriation program offered by the government thru the Philippine Embassy in Damascus as it raised Alert level number 4 in December last year. Since the onset of Alert level 4, the OWWA Repatriation Team has extended airport assistance, provided temporary shelter and counseling to arriving OFWs from that country. This afternoon’s arriving OFWs is the 28th batch of repatriates. OFWs repatriated from Syria since Alert 4 totaled to 1,097.
OWWA Administrator Carmelita S. Dimzon said that the release of the workers from their respective employers was made possible through the extensive efforts by the combined team of DFA, DOLE and OWWA. The workers temporarily stayed at the Philippine Embassy Halfway Quarters while negotiations with the workers’ Syrian employers and Syrian authorities are in progress for the OFWs’ exit visas.
The OWWA Repatriation Team will be at the NAIA to provide assistance in going through immigration and customs formalities. The OFWs will be oriented on the government’s Reintegration Program specifically the “Balik-Pinas, balik-Hanapbuhay” Program, the Livelihood Assistance Program, and the Php 2B OFW Reintegration Program.
Under the “Balik-Pinas, balik-Hanapbuhay” scheme, DOLE-OWWA will ascertain the skills of the returning OFWs and train them to be self-sufficient, self-reliant and gainfully employed. At the same time, the returning workers will have the option to undergo basic entrepreneurship through the Livelihood Assistance Program to start their own micro-businesses. DOLE-OWWA will monitor the progress of their business venture.
The repatriates will be offered temporary shelter at the OWWA Halfway Home and will be assisted with their transportation needs for their onward travel to their respective provinces. An OWWA Counseling team will be at the airport to conduct stress debriefing. xxx
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