The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assisted some 106 distressed Overseas Filipinos (OFs) who arrived on October 12, 2019 from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
DSWD provided financial assistance worth P3,000 and family food packs (FFPs) for each of the repatriates. They were also interviewed by social workers to assess and identify other appropriate services that they may need from the government as they return to their families.
The repatriates were the second batch of OFs who received airport assistance from different government agencies such as DSWD, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). On October 6, 2019, some 168 OFs from the same country were also assisted by the said government agencies.
DSWD reminds distressed OFs to seek assistance from the Social Welfare Attaches (SWAtt) in Philippine Embassies or Consular Offices abroad to help them with their problems in their workplaces.
The Department has seven SWAtt offices which are located in the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Philippine Embassy in Kuwait; Philippine Embassy in Malaysia; Philippine Consulate General in Dubai, UAE; Philippine Embassy in Qatar; and Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong.
From 2018 to present, DSWD has already assisted 46,790 distressed OFs and their families in the Philippines.
Status of RA 11299
Following the signing of Republic Act No. 11299, otherwise known as “An Act Establishing the Office for Social Welfare Attaché, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 8042, Otherwise Known as the ‘Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995’, as Amended, and for Other Purposes,” the Department is in the process of hiring additional SWAtt for deployment to Jordan, Lebanon, South Korea, Italy, and Abu Dhabi.
Currently, DSWD is holding public consultations for the crafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the law. The Department is also consistently coordinating with DFA and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to identify other countries where the services of SWAtt are in demand due to the high number of OFs in need of assistance.
SWAtt offices provide interventions which include psychosocial services such as counseling, psycho-social processing, critical incident stress management (CISM) or stress debriefing, play therapy for children, emotional healing, and referral to DSWD Field Offices where the families of OFs reside.
DSWD continues to strengthen its efforts to assist distressed OFs to ensure that they will recover from their traumatic experiences abroad and eventually live normal lives with their families. -30-