With the growing concern on the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) which was first reported in Wuhan, China, the Iloilo provincial government said its Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) help desk is open to cater to clients in the affected areas.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., in a press conference yesterday, said the OFW help desk will welcome concerns coming from families, especially Ilonggos, with relatives working in China.
The OFW help desk situated at the Iloilo provincial capitol lobby was established recently during the tension between Iran and the United States.
It is being manned by personnel of the Public Employment Services Office (PESO), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), among others.
“I requested them (in the help desk) if they can ask because I want to know how many Filipinos are working in Wuhan,” Defensor said.
In order to extend appropriate assistance, he said he also wanted to know the plan of the national government for the OFWs in China.
“We ask for the decision of the national government like – do we extract, or repatriate our fellow Filipinos there,” he said.
Upon observing that the OFW help desk could cater to varied concerns of OFWs apart from the Iran-U.S. conflict, Defensor said he already talked with the PESO-Iloilo chief Francisco Heller in making the help desk permanent.
“We are going to write a letter to partner agencies and ask them if we can make it permanent. We want to institutionalize the help desk for the families of our OFWs,” he said. (PNA)