Aside from the Foreign Affairs department and the Philippine Embassy in Syria, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has also set up hotlines for Filipinos there amid the escalating violence there.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said families of Syria-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) should not hesitate to call these numbers if they need more information about the situation there.
The numbers,posted on the DOLE website late Thursday include:
- OWWA 24/7 Assistance Center: 8336992, 5511560, and 09178986992
- Welfare Office hotline in Damascus: +963-116-125138
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, Baldoz reiterated the temporary ban on deployment of OFWs to Syria after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised the alert level there to 3.
“The temporary ban covers all workers planning to work in Syria for the first time, or new hires, and those returning workers to Syria, or re-hires,” Baldoz said.
She added the DFA’s assessment of Alert Level 3 means that all Filipinos working and residing in Syria are enjoined to leave the host country.
Also, Baldoz said she has directed the Philippine Overseas Labor Office headed by Labor Attache Angel Borja Jr. to work closely with the officials of the Philippine Embassy in Damascus in intensifying efforts to reach out to Filipinos in the troubled country.
Borja has instructions to convince OFWs that now is the best time to consider leaving Syria.
The DOLE cited the latest report of Borja showing there are 2,287 documented OFWs registered with the Labor Office as of July 2011.
Based on government estimates, there are some 17,000 OFWs in Syria. — LBG, GMA News