OWWA to set up command center for returning OFWs

MANILA The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is establishing a command center for the processing of claims, complaints, issues, and concerns of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who have just returned from Kuwait and their families.

OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said that the command center would be created to central processing unit that would address the concern of OFWs and their loved ones.

This will be cross-cutting all relevant Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) agencies involving migrant workers and OFWs. So the DOLE, the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), as well as the OWWA will be the focal agencies for this command center so OFWs will have an office to run to that can have centralized capability to address concerns of OFWs and their families, he said in a press conference.

Cacdac added that they will also be creating a one-stop shop for repatriated Filipino workers.

We will create a one stop shop for OFWs that will provide assistance in terms of welfare, employment, livelihood and legal assistance, he said.

On the other hand, DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad revealed that they are in the process of developing a mobile application (app) that will allow OFWs to alert the government if they are being abused in their workplaces.

We will be coming out with a web-based alert system, which OFWs can easily download. With just one push of the alert button, help will immediately come to them. We intend to introduce the alert system in Kuwait, he added.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has ordered the recall of two more labor officials from Kuwait in connection with the case of Joanna Demafelis, the OFW who was found dead in a freezer in the Gulf state.

Labor Attache to Kuwait Alejandro Padaen and Assistant Labor Attache Lily Pearl Guerrero have been ordered to report back to the country.

I have already signed the recall order and depending on the evidence gathered by our International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) they may also face administrative proceedings, he said.

Bello added that the recall of Padaen and Guerrero was ordered after they failed to convince him on their explanation on the incident.

There was no effort on their part to locate Demafelis when she was reported missing in early 2017, he said.

Earlier, the DOLE chief has recalled Welfare Officer Sarah Concepcion who is also involved in the Demafelis case.

Source: Philippine News Agency