Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan Ople today discussed climate change and its impact on Filipino workers around the globe during bilateral talks with Director-General Antonio Vitorino of the International Organization on Migration (IOM).
Ople also cited the need for more research and published articles on the impact of climate change on labor migration and on workers around the world.
Director-General Vitorino said that the IOM expects to tackle during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP 27, this November the need to support countries which are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, among them the Philippines. Ople said she fully supports this initiative.
The head of the IOM also cited the role of the Philippines in championing the 23 objectives of the UN Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
Ople was joined in the bilateral discussions by United Nations (UN) Permanent Representative Antonio Manuel Lagdameo, Sr. and Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and International Economic Relations Carlos Sorreta.
“The Philippines is sadly very familiar with the effects of climate change and how it results in the displacement of people,” Ople said.
“We are also aware of the need to enhance multi-sectoral, multi-agency, and multi-country partnerships to mitigate the negative effects of climate change on migrant workers and communities,” Ople added.
At the same time, Ople ordered the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in Japan and Taiwan to continue monitoring the conditions of OFWs and be ready to provide aid, if needed.
The Secretary also directed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to be ready to extend assistance to OFWs in these two countries. The OWWA is an attached agency of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
In a report to the Secretary, POLO-Osaka said some 13,904 OFWs under its jurisdiction have been accounted for, are unharmed, and safe. The post also reports they were in contact with most of the employers and supervising agencies of the OFWs in the Kyushu area whom they instructed to continue monitoring the status of OFWs there.
Of the 13,904 OFWs covered by POLO-Osaka, 5,368 are in Fukuoka, 660 in Saga, 1,001 in Nagasaki, 2,520 in Kumamoto, 1,607 in Oita, 786 in Miyazaki, and 1,962 in Kagoshima.
Meanwhile, POLO-Tokyo said it has not received any requests for assistance as of Monday evening. The labor post, however, reminded OFWs, employers, and recruitment agencies to immediately report any typhoon-related incident involving OFWs. There are 22,000 OFWs under POLO-Tokyo’s jurisdiction.
Filipino workers needing assistance in Japan can contact the following helplines:
POLO- Tokyo Welfare Hotline (WelOf Nico Herrera) +81 70 3630 0167
POLO- Osaka LabAtt Elizabeth Estrada +81 70 2275 6083 WelOf Pilipina Dino +81 70 2447 4014 Welfare Hotline (Dahnia Domado) + 81 70 2447 4016 Verification Hotline (Marina Mori Alvez) + 81 70 2275 6082
Taiwan earthquake update:
Meantime, the three POLOs in Taiwan reported no injuries or casualties among OFWs following an earthquake Sunday.
Ople instructed the labor officials to continue working with government authorities and remain connected with Filipino communities, representatives, and area coordinators.
Taiwan was struck by a massive 6.8 magnitude earthquake Sunday. Hardest hit by the tremor was Hualien County where there are 1,400 OFWs.
Other counties that suffered damage from the quake are: Yilan, Nantou, and Taitung.
OFWs in need of assistance and information may contact the DMW through the following hotlines and social media sites:
TAIPEI: Mobile: +886 932 218 057 Facebook / Messenger: POLO Taipei
TAICHUNG: Mobile: +886 966 537 732 Facebook / Messenger: Meco Polo Taichung
KAOHSIUNG: Mobile: +886 988 976 596 Facebook / Messenger: Meco Polo Owwa Kaohsiung