OWWA says working with DFA to assist Filipinos in bankrupt Sri Lanka

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2022 11:11 AM

Sri Lankan money changer uses a calculator to check for the equivalent of US dollars to the Sri Lankan Rupees, at a private exchange centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 12 April 2022. Sri Lanka faces its worst ever economic crisis in decades due to the lack of foreign reserves, resulting in severe shortages in food, fuel, medicine, and imported goods, as Sri Lankan officials said Sri Lanka announces default on all of its 51 billion USD external debt. Chamila Karunarathne, EPA-EFE/File
Sri Lankan money changer uses a calculator to check for the equivalent of US dollars to the Sri Lankan Rupees, at a private exchange centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 12 April 2022. Sri Lanka faces its worst ever economic crisis in decades due to the lack of foreign reserves, resulting in severe shortages in food, fuel, medicine, and imported goods, as Sri Lankan officials said Sri Lanka announces default on all of its 51 billion USD external debt. Chamila Karunarathne, EPA-EFE/File

MANILA - The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is working with the Foreign Affairs department to extend assistance to overseas Filipino workers who are in Sri Lanka.

Bankrupt Sri Lanka is suffering from a shortage in foreign exchange reserves rendering it unable to fund essential goods, fuel and other basic commodities as well as pay for its external debt. 

In an interview with ANC, OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the agency has offered assistance in terms of provisions for basic commodities and repatriation to affected OFWs.

"The DFA is currently reaching out with the Filipino community to gather information as well as list of the OFWs who will need help. We’re working hand in hand with the DFA to bring out OFWs who want to come home safely," Cacdac said.

Zeny Gadut, who is representing the Filipino community in Sri Lanka earlier said there has been a shortage in food supply in supermarkets and that it was getting more difficult to buy gasoline.

So far, there is no final list of OFWs who need repatriation. The DFA is currently on the ground gathering information, Cacdac said.

Although OFWs could transfer to other neigboring countries, Cacdac said the transfer entails immigration and administrative requirements from the receiving country. Therefore, repatriation is the "normal recourse," he added.

So far, there is no deployment ban yet for OFWs bound to Sri Lanka. The ban will come from the DFA, he said.

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