Senators propose new hotline for OFW complaints, regular visit
MANILA, Philippines — Senators proposed a new hotline for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and visiting them in their host countries after a Filipina died in Kuwait.
During the plenary session on Tuesday, Senator Jinggoy Estrada lamented the “disturbing” news about the discovery of the charred remains of 35-year-old Jullebee Ranara in a desert in Kuwait.
“I’m not here to point fingers at anyone. I am merely out to express my condemnation on the gruesome death of Ranara who, just like the millions of our OFWs, was simply seeking better opportunities abroad so that she could provide for her family and loved ones at home, but ended up in harm’s way,” Estrada said as he delivered his privilege speech.
He further wants to recommend to the Department of Migrant Workers to ban OFWs from working in Kuwait.
Senators Raffy Tulfo and Ramon “Bong” Revilla then proposed actions to further protect OFWs.
Tulfo tried calling the hotline of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration during the session, but ended up listening to an automated message.
“I think that has to be improved. Buti na lang tinawagan ko ngayon, and I will talk to Secretary Toots Ople para maglagay ng bagong hotline na may sasagot agad right there and then, 24/7 kung kinakailangan,” said Tulfo, Senate committee on migrant workers chairperson.
(Good thing I called now, and I will talk to Secretary Toots Ople to put up a new hotline wherein someone will answer right there and then, 24/7 if needed.)
The neophyte senator also provided assistance amounting to P50,000 to the bereaved kin.
Meanwhile, Revilla suggested engaging with OFWs and asking for their needs.
“Let this be a warning, loud and clear, mga kababayan: May kasangga ang ating mga mahal na mga OFWs dito sa Senado. Hindi natin palalagpasin ang mga ganitong pangyayari. Managot ang dapat managot,” Revilla said.
(Let this be a warning, loud and clear, fellow Filipinos: Our beloved OFWs can lean on someone in the Senate. We will not let this kind of incident pass. Perpetrators must be accountable.)
“Siguro, one of these days, dalawin natin ang ating mga kababayan sa bawat lugar na ‘yan at makausap kung ano pa talaga ang kailangan nilang suporta na manggagaling sa atin,” he added.
(Maybe, one of these days, let us visit our fellow Filipinos in each place and talk to them to know what they need from us.)
Other senators likewise decried the death of Ranara, one of the over 100,000 OFWs in Kuwait.