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Friday, April 19, 2024

DMW urged to ensure OFWs won’t lose jobs after Naia air traffic snafu

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Following the New Year Day’s flight cancellations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs on Tuesday called on the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to take the necessary actions to protect the welfare and employment of affected overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who might be at risk of job termination by their employers for failure to show up to work.

Kabayan Rep. Ron Salo said OFWs returning to their employers after the Christmas vacation and OFWs who are going to be deployed expressed fears that their employers may reject them.

“We are fully aware of and understand the fears of our OFWs. The government must do everything in its powers to ensure that our OFWs are not sanctioned, or worse, terminated because of this unfortunate event,” Salo said.

On the first day of 2023, aviation authorities scrambled to resume usual services after technical issues marred the air traffic control of Naia, the main gateway to the Philippines. For several hours, the Philippines was a “no-fly” zone. More than 300 flights were canceled, diverted, or delayed, affecting more than 60,000 passengers.

“My sympathies go out to those who were affected by this fortuitous event. I know that this is very frustrating. This kind of inconvenience is not how we want to start the New Year,” Salo remarked.

Authorities from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and Naia have stated they expect to normalize all operations within 72-hours.

“I am urgently calling on the DMW to give our OFWs the necessary protection from termination or sanction, and reassure them that their jobs are safe and that they don’t need to worry. Our OFWs should not be the ones to suffer because of this disruption,” Salo stated.

“Private recruitment agencies should immediately coordinate with their foreign counterparts or foreign employers to provide updates on the flight status of affected OFWs. Manning agencies should likewise undertake the same measure with their foreign principals concerning affected seafarers,” Salo added.

Salo also called on other agencies of the government to ensure that the needs of OFWs and other passengers are necessarily provided for while they are stranded in the airports.

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