By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian called on the Inter-Agency Task Force
for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to expedite
the vaccination of outbound Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs),
particularly those scheduled for deployment this year.
“Bakunahan na natin sila habang nandidito sila sa Pilipinas para
maaari na silang makabalik agad sa trabaho. Marami sa kanila
nagta-trabaho sa barko o sa mga hotels sa abroad. Marami sa mga
ganitong negosyo ay bumabalik na paunti-unti. Pero kailangan nating
siguruhin na bago makaalis ang mga OFWs sa bansa ay bakunado na silang
lahat,” Gatchalian said.
“Marami sa kanila ay nagtataguyod ng pamilya kaya dapat suportahan at
tulungan natin sila. Magpapasukan na naman at importante na meron
silang panggastos para ma-enroll yung kanilang mga anak o mabilhan ng
mga gamit,” he added.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has noted
that the number of Filipino seafarers deployed monthly is gradually
returning to its pre-pandemic status.
Compared to the 15,000 deployed in January, some 30,000 seafarers were
deployed in May or a difference of 10,000 from the 40,000 being sent
abroad monthly prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the POEA said.
The IATF has re-categorized to Priority Group A1 those outbound OFWs
due for deployment in the coming months.
The Vice-Chairperson of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee said
that aside from the personal economic recovery of the displaced OFWs,
the recovery of remittances, which could be aided by the expedited
the rollout of more COVID-19 vaccines could also boost the appreciation
of the country’s currency.
Gatchalian urged the POEA and the Department of Labor and Employment
(DOLE) to ensure that the OFWs be given vaccine shots preferred by
their respective destination countries so as not to cause any delay in
The country is expecting 25 million doses of anti-COVID-19 vaccines to
the arrive this September while an additional 29.5 million doses are
due to be delivered by October. (ai/mtvn)