“Prevention is always better than cure. We have to guarantee the safety and security of our workers before everything gets worse. This time is now.”
This according to Quezon City Rep. Winnie Castelo who called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor (DOLE) to get the country’s contingency teams in Saudi Arabia ready in the wake of a series of Yemeni missile attacks on Riyadh and three other Saudi cities.
“Saudi Arabia is home to over a million overseas Filipino workers—the biggest in the Middle East—who could be at risk in case the situation between Yemen and Saudi Arabia deteriorates,” Castelo said.
Castelo, vice chair of the House committee on OFWs, said the DFA and DOLE should always be ready for situations like this even as he asked the two departments to provide the public an update on the situation and ascertain the safety of Filipinos in the Saudi capital.
Castelo noted that this is not the first time that Saudi Arabia had been fired upon by Yemeni rebels who had taken over the government in the poorest country in the Middle East.
“So this should be just routine exercise for the DFA and DOLE. Nevertheless, the two agencies have to be on their toes and be able to mobilize its personnel in Saudi Arabia at the touch of the button,” he said.
Castelo pointed out that the DFA and DOLE should have maintained an inventory of OFWs in critical areas in Saudi Arabia so that they could be alerted at a moment’s notice.
The two agencies have to be on their toes and be able to mobilize its personnel in Saudi Arabia at the touch of the button.
There should also be a quick monitoring and feedback mechanism so that authorities will immediately know the status of OFWs and assistance can be dispatched when necessary.