Kin of OFWs in Yemen told to convince loved ones to return
MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Wednesday, April 1, asked the families of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in strife-torn Yemen to call their loved ones and convince them to return.
"We must act fast. Let us help one another in persuading your family members in Yemen to take part in mandatory repatriation," said Baldoz.
The labor chief's call comes after a Saudi-led coalition launched a series of air strikes on Huthi rebel camps, including the rebel-seized airport in the troubled state.
On February 19, the Philippine foreign affairs department placed Yemen under Alert Level 4 due to volatile security. Alert Level 4 means a mandatory pull-out of all Filipino workers there and a deployment ban on new ones.
War planes of an anti-Huthi coalition of Arab states started bombing key areas in Yemen on March 27 in a bid to quell the alleged Iran-backed Shiite rebellion and keep Yemen President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in power.
The group vowed to sustain the attacks until the Huthi rebels surrender, angering Shiite Iran.
The Saudi-led intervention prompted Baldoz to reiterate the government's call for mandatory repatriation of all Filipino workers there.
"The worsening security situation prompts this warning. Please fully cooperate in the mandatory repatriation. Your safety is the government’s paramount concern," Baldoz said.
Filipinos who are still in Yemen must contact the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh for their return through the following numbers: 730187540, 737426292, 733844958, 730194165.
They can also email the embassy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Filipinos in Yemen
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) determined that 4 Philippine-based licensed recruitment agencies deployed a total of 63 Filipino workers to Yemen.
These are Inter-Asia Services Corporation, which deployed one Filipino worker; Finest Asia Resources Inc, 23; STB-DJL Human Link, 22; and GTI Recruitment Inc, 17.
The 4 agencies are expected to pay for the workers' airline tickets.
"During our meeting, I have issued a directive to the 4 agencies to report on the situation of the 63 OFWs they deployed and asked them to fulfill their obligation to bring them home safely," said POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac.
In 2014 alone, at least 4,326 Filipino migrant workers were deployed to Yemen. Of the Yemen-based Filipino workers in 2014, 1,503 were new hires and 2,823 were re-hires.
Some 77 Filipinos are permanent residents in Yemen and 75 are irregular workers, according to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.
Many of the OFWs based in Yemen are nurses. Other Filipinos work as welders and flame cutters, mechanical engineers, electrical wiring workers, production supervisors, riggers and cable splicers, midwives, geodetic surveyors, machine fitters and assemblers, automotive technicians, machine tool operators, and construction workers.
The US has backed the anti-Huthi campaign to launch air strikes on rebel-controlled areas in Yemen.
The worsening violence in the southern Arab state has forced countries like India and Pakistan to airlift their citizens from the affected areas. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com