Iloilo sets up 24/7 help desk for OFWs, families amid tension in Middle East
MANILA, Philippines – The Iloilo provincial government has set up a round-the-clock assistance desk for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families amid tension in the Middle East sparked by recent exchanges between the United States and Iran.
The provincial government said in a statement that the Operation Bulig Ilonggo help desk, located at the capitol lobby, began operating on Friday, January 10.
It said the assistance desk “is intended to attend to queries and emergency needs of distressed Ilonggo overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families in crisis areas in the Middle East.”
The desk has a phone line and 6 laptop computers with internet connectivity, and is manned by members of Task Force Bulig Ilonggo composed of representatives from concerned government agencies and capitol offices.
“As much as possible we would like to only cover requests for repatriation, updates, and communication. All other concerns will be coursed through OWWA and DFA,” said Provincial Administrator Suzette Mamon, who co-heads the task force’s technical working committee with Public Employment Service Office chief Francisco Heler Jr.
The members of the technical working committee are from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWD), General Services Office (GSO), Information Communication Technology Management Office (ICTMO), and the Public Information and Community Affairs Office (PICAO).
The provincial capitol said that based on OWWA-6 records, there are 25 OFWs from Western Visayas currently working and residing in Iran, and 5 in Iraq.
The help desk may also be accessed via email (BuligIlonggo@iloilo.gov.ph) and Facebook (Bulig Ilonggo Task Force). – Rappler.com