The national government and other concerned agencies should now come up with a contingency plan for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) should the tension between the Peoples Republic of China and Taiwan escalates, Senator Rafael ‘’Raffy’’ Tulfo said Saturday, Aug. 6.
Tulfo, who is set to become chairman of the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers, said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Philippine Overseas Labor & Office (POLO) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should come up with a coordinated plan to ensure the safety of Filipino workers in Taiwan and other neighboring countries.
“The tension between China and Taiwan is not something to be taken lightly. This is the perfect time for government agencies to show their united force by working together for the safety and aecurity of our workers abroad,” he said.
There are reportedly around 200,000 OFWs in Taiwan.
“In my experience of helping OFWs in the past two decades, the government agencies, oftentimes, were very reactive instead of proactive,’’ he pointed out.
We should be ready to evacuate OFWs in the event that the current situation escalates into a war,” he added.
“Based on media reports, China launched large-scale military drills in six areas surrounding Taiwan Strait following United States (US) Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Aug. 2.
The Taiwanese government reported some Chinese fighter jets passed through the median lines in the Strait despite firm statements of condemnation by the US, Japan, and the European Union (EU).
In preparing for a contingency plan, Tulfo said the concerned government agencies, in coordination with the national government, should consider many factors, including the safety and funding assistance for OFWs.
“The situation for OFWs in Taiwan is fraught with too much risk and many Filipino workers are now worried about their future abroad,’’ he said.
“The national government should provide enough funding assistance to all Filipino workers to ensure that they can smoothly reenter the country once they are evacuated,” he added.