Villanueva urges gov't to help OFW victims of Beirut blast

Senator Joel Villanueva on Thursday urged the government to undertake the necessary measures to assist overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were affected by the fatal blast that rocked Beirut, Lebanon.

Sen. Joel Villanueva (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The chairman of the Senate labor committee asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to provide the OFWs medical assistance and psychosocial services "to address the trauma experienced by our kababayans there."

The DFA, as well the Department of Labor and Employment, should also make the needed arrangements should the Filipinos request for repatriation, subject to minimum health standards and quarantine procedures, he added.

"We also ask that families of our OFWs and other overseas Filipinos affected by the Beirut blast be apprised of their situation there," Villanueva appealed.

Two Filipinos have been confirmed to be among the 135 people killed by the explosion in a warehouse that ripped across Lebanon's capital on Tuesday. At least eight Filipinos were also hurt.

Authorities had said that 12 more OFWS remain missing as of Wednesday, August 5.

The DOLE assured the families of the affected OFWs of appropriate assistance and benefits. It said it has also been closely coordinating with the Beirut government to locate the missing Filipinos.