By Marita Moaje
MANILA – A task force and a 24/7 command center have been established by the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to monitor the situation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) based in Turkiye that was hit by a 7.8 magnitude quake on Feb. 6.
In a public briefing on Thursday, DMW Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac said Secretary Susan ‘Toots’ Ople wants to make sure that all OFWs in the quake-hit areas are accounted for and those affected are given assistance.
“Higit-kumulang mga 77 ang minamanmanan ngayon na mga OFWs na mayroon namang mga ulat na mula sa mga recruitment agencies nila at sa Filipino community at sa government o embahada natin sa Ankara patungkol sa kapakanan ng ating mga OFWs doon (There are around 77 OFWs currently being monitored, and there are reports from their recruitment agencies and the Filipino community, as well as from our embassy in Ankara regarding the welfare of our OFWs there),” Cacdac said.
In case needed, he said the DMW is also in constant communication with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for possible repatriation flights.
Among the immediate assistance seen by the DMW include medical and welfare assistance, especially for those who have sustained injuries and needed to be hospitalized.
However, Cacdac said that no Filipino casualty has been reported and they have not received any report of OFWs who have sustained major injuries, although there are some who were hospitalized.
“Kaya binabantayan din natin ang sitwasyon nila at kapag sila ay may medical clearance siyempre makakauwi sila, to be repatriated. Pero mayroon ding welfare assistance katulad ng kinakailangan nilang mga basic needs on the ground at ito ay we are coordinating with the DFA patungkol dito (So we are also monitoring their situation and when they have a medical clearance, of course they can go home, to be repatriated. But there is also welfare assistance, like for their basic needs on the ground and we are coordinating with the DFA regarding this),” he added.
Cacdac said the families of those who needed assistance or who want to get an update on their family members who are in the quake-affected areas may contact the DMW hotline at 1348, or 02-1348 for those who are outside Manila, and +632-1348 for those outside the country.
The hotline is in coordination with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Ankara has confirmed that two Filipinos were reported hurt due to the earthquake, and are now in stable condition.
The embassy said they are continuously gathering information on the situation of Filipinos in the area until everyone is well accounted for, while they also distribute relief items to those affected.
Based on the data from the Philippine Embassy, there are around 248 Filipinos based in the affected region in Turkey. (PNA)