Tulfo seeks contingency plan for OFWs in Taiwan

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Tulfo seeks contingency plan for OFWs in Taiwan
A woman uses her mobile phone as she walks in front of a large screen showing a news broadcast about China's military exercises encircling Taiwan, in Beijing on August 4, 2022. China's largest-ever military exercises encircling Taiwan kicked off August 4, in a show of force straddling vital international shipping lanes after a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
AFP / Noel Celis

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Raffy Tulfo is urging the national government and other concerned agencies to come up with a contingency plan for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) should the tension between China and Taiwan escalate.

Tulfo, who chairs the Senate committee on migrant workers, said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), 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 early, the DFA, OWWA and POLO should have contingency plans in the event this problem worsens,” Tulfo said in mixed Filipino and English. “This is the perfect time for government agencies to show their united force by working together for the safety and security of our workers abroad.”

There are reportedly around 200,000 OFWs in Taiwan. 

He said in his experience of helping OFWs in the past two decades, government agencies often “were very reactive instead of proactive.”

“We should be ready to evacuate OFWs in the event that the current situation escalates into a war,” he said.

 Based on media reports, China conducted a large-scale military drill in six areas surrounding Taiwan Strait after the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Aug. 2.

 The Taiwanese government reported some Chinese fighter jets passed through the median lines in the Strait despite condemnation by the US, Japan and the European Union.

 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 national government should provide enough funding assistance to all Filipino workers to ensure that they can smoothly re-enter the country once they are evacuated,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Tulfo set up the “Raffy Tulfo In Action” Aksyon Center in La Trinidad, Benguet over the weekend. 

Tulfo’s chief of staff Garreth Tungol and daughter Maricel Tulfo-Tungol, together with project coordinator George Pumasen, led the ribbon-cutting ceremony during the launch of the Aksyon Center on Saturday. 

Tulfo is the main anchor of a long existing top-rated radio program “Wanted sa Radyo.” Thousands of people flock to his radio show, particularly his Action Center in Quezon City regularly, to seek help.

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