The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has created an assistance center to focus on the repatriation of Filipinos who are having issues working abroad.
According to DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople, the “One Repatriation Center” will serve as a command center, allowing troubled migrant workers to return home, reunite with their families, and start a new life.
DMW Launches One Repatriation Command Center (ORCC) to Assist Distressed OFWs
“This is a product of many minds, many hands, and it signifies the Marcos administration’s desire to put at the center of the bureaucratic universe the rights and welfare of every OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), the right to come home, reunited with the family at every instance when calamity strikes, when a war breaks out, when rights are violated and when human dignity is diminished,” said Ople in a press briefing during the project’s launching on Wednesday, July 20, in Mandaluyong City, as reported by the Philippine News Agency.
Ople noted that all government departments responsible with aiding OFWs will respond to any request for assistance from OFWs or their friends and family members who are aware of their dire situation abroad as soon as possible.
“The goal is for all government agencies to work together instead of finger-pointing as to which agency is responsible,” said Ople.
According to Bernard Olalia, interim administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), all agencies, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, have already committed to guaranteeing the program’s success.
“One of the main reasons for the launching of this One Repat Center is to avoid confusion among our OFWs. We have the OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration), the POEA, the DFA and our OFWs do not know where to go to seek help,” said Olalia.
“Exactly, this is the purpose of one Repat Command Center,” he added.
Why it is important
Olalia emphasized the importance of a collaborative effort to assist OFWs by giving statistics on the annual number of Filipino migrant workers seeking repatriation.
Olalia claimed that over 9,000 Filipino migrant workers sought repatriation with the help of the POEA in 2019, with abuse by their employers being the most common reason.
Furthermore, the POEA received over 6,000 requests for repatriation assistance from OFWs in 2020, the vast majority of them were infected with Covid-19.
He added that thousands of additional requests had been submitted since 2021, with the primary reason being that OFWs had already fulfilled their contracts and had nowhere to go for the previous two years due to travel restrictions.
How to Contact One Repatriation Command Center
Here are the contact details of the DMW-ORCC Help Desk:
- Operating Schedule: Mondays to Fridays
- Hours: 8am to 5pm
- Email: email@example.com
- DMW ORCC Telephone Number – 1348 (24/7 Hotline)
How it works
The One Repatriation Center, according to the DMW, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to accommodate walk-in clients, phone calls, and e-mails.
DMW employees will continue to staff the command center after hours and on weekends but will be limited to phone calls and e-mails.
OFWs and their families can request assistance through the DMW-OWWA hotline 1348 and the agency’s email.
“There will be case officers that will receive the calls, 24/7,” said Ople.
Once received, the request for assistance will be recorded into the E-CARES database and forwarded to the appropriate local and foreign organizations.
Ople noted that the documentation is critical since it will be utilized to expedite the repatriation process.
The cases will then be reviewed by case officers, who are anticipated to give favorable conclusions for the individual agencies.
Once the cases are validated, the DMW will give all assistance to the OFWs and their families until the OFWs are repatriated.
The DMW is in charge of guaranteeing the safe transit of troubled OFWs and reuniting them with their families.
According to Ople, the One Repatriation Center will not discriminate based on whether or not the distressed OFWs were authorized to work abroad.
She emphasized that even undocumented OFWs will be helped to come home and reunite with their family if they are Filipinos in desperate need of repatriation.