Migrant workers' group urges gov't: Make comprehensive plan to secure OFWs amid Russia-Ukraine war

The Philippine government must map out and implement a comprehensive plan to address and mitigate the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

File photo of overseas Filipino workers (Photo by Ariel Fernandez / Manila Bulletin)

This was stressed by AKO OFW, a partylist group that advocates the welfare of migrant workers, as it called on the national government to ensure the safety of more than 300 Filipino migrant workers in Ukraine.

“The most important and immediate step to undertake is to ensure the safety of each and everyone of our kababayans there, either through relocating them temporarily to safer places or by repatriating them already back to our country,” AKO OFW first nominee Dr. Chie Umandap said on Friday, Feb. 25.

“There are, of course, other pressing concerns which we likewise need to address. Among these are the would-be economic displacement of these Ukraine-based OFWs especially in the event that the conflict persists for a long period of time. Our government thus needs to help them get new jobs and assist their families in coping with the adjustment,” he added.

The party-list leader said the conflict is also expected to impact deeply on the economy of the Philippines. He cited reports about the sharp increase in the global prices of oil, natural gas and other prime commodities, as well as the growing uncertainty among businesses and markets.

Umandap said that the Philippines could suffer more in terms of economic displacement since the conflict could further decrease OFW remittance, aggravate unemployment and underemployment.

Further, he stated that the Philippines has, in recent years, enhanced its trade relations with Russia and the government must ensure that these relations will be preserved even amid the conflict.

“Our government should seek the help, ideas and active participation of the business community as well as of all concerned sectors and stakeholders in this comprehensive immediate, medium-term and long-term plan in addressing and mitigating the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” Dr. Umandap underscored.

“We should treat this not as a purely governmental response but one that warrants a whole-of-society approach,” he emphasized.