DMW monitoring affected OFWs in Turkey-Syria quake, to set up 24/7 hotline

Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan "Toots" Ople assured maximum assistance to the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Turkey and Syria who may have been affected by the 7.8 magnitude quake on Monday, Feb. 6.

More than 5,000 people were reported dead near the border of Turkey and Syria when the strong tremor flattened buildings and homes on Monday, Feb. 6.

There is still no confirmation as to how many OFWs were affected and Ople said this is the reason why she ordered a close coordination with authorities of the two countries to get a clear picture on the impact of the quake to the OFWs.

“I have instructed the DMW to share information with the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) rescue mission bound for Turkiye regarding the names of overseas workers deployed to the said country," said Ople.

The Philippines is set to deploy an 85-man disaster response contingent to Turkey and Syria.

"We will also open a 24/7 hotline to respond to calls for assistance including queries from anxious families. The nearest Migrant Workers Office is in southern Lebanon, and a team from that office will be heading for Turkiye soon,” she added.

Ople said she also directed the DMW welfare cluster led by Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac to work closely with other government agencies to deliver welfare assistance to quake victims in Turkiye, Syria and Lebanon.

She added that the DMW and the DFA will work closely together to ensure that humanitarian assistance would be delivered to affected OFWs in quake-affected areas in the three countries.

In response to Secretary Ople’s instructions, Undersecretaries Allones and Cacdac said the department is activating its Hotline 1348 as a handling center for families of OFWs in the affected areas seeking information about their loved ones.

The DMW reports that there are an estimated 193 Filipinos in the three affected provinces of Hatay (113), Adana (51), and Gaziantep (29).