Envoy appeals for food, cash aid for OFWs in Turkey

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 16 2020 12:32 PM

Envoy appeals for food, cash aid for OFWs in Turkey 1
A woman and her dog look out from the window of their home as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Istanbul, Turkey, April 15, 2020. Umit Bekta, Reuters

MANILA- Filipino workers displaced from their jobs in Turkey need food and cash aid, Philippine Ambassador Raul Hernandez said Thursday as he appealed for help.

Hernandez said Philippine Embassy and consulate workers in Turkey are already pooling funds from their own pockets just to provide food packs for migrant workers who need food since some are employed under a "no work, no pay" system.

"Yung iba sa atin ay 'no work, no pay' na rin so 'yung mga officers ng ating embahada at mga konsulado ay nag-aambagan para makabili ng pagkain, at itong food packs ay mai-donate sa ating mga kababayan," the ambassador said in a virtual press briefing.

(Some of us are employed under "no work, no pay" so our officers in the embassy and consulate are pooling funds to buy food to be distributed to our countrymen.)

"Umaapela tayo na isama 'yung ating mga OFWs dito sa Turkey sa financial assistance," he added.

(We are appealing for our OFWs here in Turkey to be included in the financial assistance program.)

The diplomat said he has already appealed to the Department of Labor and Employment to include displaced Filipino workers in Turkey in its one-time P5,000 cash assistance.

"We are hoping na masama nga ang ating mga OFWs sa one-time financial assistance ng DOLE," he said.

(We are hoping that our OFWs here will be included in the one-time financial assistance of DOLE.)

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Thursday said the agency lacked funds to provide cash aid for all of the displaced workers in the Philippines alone and appealed for public understanding.

"Nararamdaman ko rin ang impatience ng ating mga kababayan. Alam din nating gutom sila kaya hindi natin masisisi sila 'pag nagrereklamo sila," Bello told DZMM.

(I also feel the impatience of our countrymen. We know that they are going hungry so we can't blame them if they complain.)

"They deserve it (assistance). Obligasyon naming ibigay sa kanila iyan. Kaya lang, mas kaunting pasensya lang po, ipararating namin iyan," he added.

(They deserve assistance, and it is our obligation to give them that. However, we ask for a little more patience, we will give them aid.)

So far, only 1 Filipino woman is infected with COVID-19 in Turkey and is undergoing treatment at a state hospital, Hernandez said.

As of Wednesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said there are 736 Filipinos abroad who fell ill with COVID-19.

The death toll remains at 88, while there are 222 who recovered.