Reacting to reports that some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) abroad have resorted to scavenging for food or to selling blood just to survive the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Deputy Director General John Bertiz is appealing for swift action from the concerned government agencies.

“It saddens me to learn that our stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have allegedly resorted to selling blood in order to survive this global pandemic.  Recently, we also heard about some OFWs who have resorted to scavenging for food in Riyadh,” said Bertiz, who is also chairman of the ACTS-OFW party-list.

“They lost their jobs and are now risking themselves to eat and survive.”

“Our OFWs are obviously facing almost unimaginable hardships abroad.  Like many of us here, they too dread what their future awaits them under the new normal environment,” Bertiz added.

Bertiz said the concerned government agencies must act fast to rescue Filipino migrant migrant workers who are now stranded in different countries following lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Aside from being stranded by the lockdowns, many of these OFWs, said Bertiz, are now also jobless after their jobs were affected by the pandemic.

“They lost their jobs and are now risking themselves to eat and survive. Our concerned government agencies need to act fast in addressing the issues, concerns and difficulties of our documented and undocumented OFWs who were displaced or stranded abroad due to the pandemic,” said Bertiz.

“We need to heed their pleas for help.”

Bertiz also stressed the need for the various government agencies and departments to cooperate with each other to help bring home the stranded OFWs as safely and as fast as possible.

“Instead of belittling, undermining or spinning their struggles, we need to heed their pleas for help,” he said.

“This is our urgent and immediate task, and we need everybody’s support and cooperation to keep our OFWs safe and extend assistance to them and their families,” Bertiz added.

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