Philippine embassy extends assistance

Renato Pedro O. Villa (The Philippine Star) - November 12, 2019 - 12:00am

I refer to the Letter to the Editor dated 28 October 2019 and headlined “Another OFW nurse in Bahamas calls for gov’t help” from the Lilac Center for Public Interest.

With the DFA’s authority and upon instructions of Ambassador Romualdez, I led an embassy team on 25 September - 01 October 2019, which included the embassy’s Labor Attache, a Labor Assistant and the OWWA Administrative Assistant, to assess the situation of Filipinos in The Bahamas and extend relief and consular assistance to them.

I wish to confirm that the embassy team distributed $100 each to 334 victims of Hurricane Dorian - 311 in Freeport, Gran Bahama and 23 in Nassau to those who came from Abaco. Only a few were not able to receive financial assistance because the beneficiaries must acknowledge in person receiving the amount in keeping with government accounting regulations.

The embassy team also handed over the $1,300 cash donated by the National Federation of Filipino American Association (NaFFAA) to the Filipino victims from Abaco. The OWWA Welfare Officer will remit this week the amount of $3,700 to Filipinos from Abaco who may not have received financial assistance.

The embassy team processed 245 passport applications, renewed 449 OWWA memberships, reviewed and verified employment contracts, distributed more than 160 flashlights to hurricane victims, and provided counseling on labor as well as consular and assistance-to-nationals (ATN) matters in both Freeport and Nassau. Since the DFA gave priority to the printing of the passports, these have been shipped to the embassy in Washington DC and are now ready for delivery to the applicants this week.

The team also met Bahamian officials from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, National Emergency Management Administration (NEMA), and the Health Ministry as well as the Minister for Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration, who gave assurances that they will continue to cooperate with the Philippine government in ensuring the security and welfare of all Filipinos in The Bahamas.

We salute the selfless concern and heroic act of OFW Imelda Glori who exemplify the best in the overseas Filipino. As we mentioned in our report, “Only one hardy soul (as reported by fellow Filipinos), Ms. Imelda Glori, who is a nurse, returned to her work site in Abaco, (only a week after being evacuated) at a health center in Hopetown, where she has been working for more than 15 years.”

The embassy wishes to assure the Filipinos in The Bahamas and their families in the Philippines that we remain vigilant and ready to serve and act promptly on any pleas for help from our kababayans.

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