More Pinoys seeking repatriation from Israel
October 25, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Aside from the three batches of 60 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have arrived from Israel, 120 are still expected to come home, according to Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) officer-in-charge Hans Cacdac.
“We still have more or less 120 requests for repatriation,” Cacdac said in a radio interview, noting that the Philippine government is already processing the repatriation. “When I say process, it means calling them three times and making sure that they really want to go home.”
Half of those who requested repatriation assistance, Cacdac said, had already finished their employment contract and were scheduled to return home when hostilities in the Gaza Strip broke out.
Cacdac said the government is ensuring that OFWs will still be on good terms with their employers so they could have the option to return when the situation in Israel improves.
Most of the Filipinos requesting repatriation are caregivers while the rest are hotel workers. The repatriation from Israel remains voluntary.
Cacdac, however, said the number of those seeking repatriation is expected to increase.
The returning OFWs will receive a one-time P50,000 grant as well as other assistance, including livelihood, re-employment facilitation and skills retooling.
At this time, Cacdac said, the Philippine government continues to locate the remaining two Filipino caregivers still unaccounted for.
In Gaza, Cacdac said there are 137 Filipinos who are hoping to return to the Philippines. Cacdac said they are not OFWs, but Filipinos married to Palestinian nationals. He said they would be repatriated as soon as they are able to cross from Gaza to Egypt.
The DMW official said the government is also in the process of repatriating Filipinos from Lebanon, although they still do not have the actual number of OFWs returning home from Lebanon.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that there are more than 17,000 Filipinos in Lebanon. But migration consultant Manny Geslani said the figure could be higher since there are many Filipinos who entered Lebanon illegally.
The local government of Cadiz City, Negros Occidental will be naming its newly built evacuation center in honor of slain Negrense caregiver Loreta Alacre, who showed heroism in the face of the attack staged by Hamas militant fighters in Israel, Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. said yesterday.
The newly built evacuation center within Cadiz Viejo National High School in Barangay Cadiz Viejo, Cadiz City is to be named Loreta V. Alacre Evacuation Center in honor of the school alumna’s “heroism” for 19 years as an OFW, Escalante said.
This was relayed by Escalante to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator Arnel Ignacio, who visited Loreta’s wake at the family’s residence in Sitio Camay an, Barangay Cadiz Viejo. Loreta is scheduled to be buried on Nov. 5.
Escalante described Loreta as Cadiz’s “Bagong Bayani” and that the request for renaming the evacuation center was already forwarded to the Sangguniang Panlungsod for deliberations and approval.
After the mass, Ignacio and the DMW turned over P50,000 each financial assistance to the family of slain OFW, aside from the financial assistance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, as well as livelihood package from the Department of Labor and Employment.
Aside from OWWA’s payment of P104,000 funeral expenses of Loreta, Escalante said it also assured full scholarship grants to the four nephews and nieces of the slain OFW, whose education she had financed while she was still alive.
He added that the Cadiz City government is also willing to include the nephews and nieces of Loreta in the city government’s scholarship program, at P5,000 per semester, for college students.
Escalante said they are also looking at the possibility of employing Nelia Alacre, youngest sister of Loreta, and her brother, in the city government.
Speaker Martin Romualdez has extended P500,000 financial assistance to the family of Alacre, which was received by Loreta’s siblings last week. — Gilbert Bayoran