MANILA, Aug 6 (PNA) — Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Muscat, Oman is the first POLO to have “emptied” its Migrant Workers and Other Filipinos Resource Center (MWOFRC) of distressed OFW by repatriating the last sheltered OFW back to the Philippines.
“The last of the 29 distressed OFWs sheltered at the MWOFRC has been sent home by the POLO and it has, as of date, maintained zero ward,” said Baldoz, citing a report of POLO head Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa.
“We have no more OFW sheltered at the MWOFRC as of date. This is the first time in our history that a POLO has no sheltered OFW,” Baldoz said, commending Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa and his staff for the achievement and for heeding the call of President Benigno S. Aquino III to “transform all POLOs into centers of care and excellence.” She also urged other POLOs to redouble their efforts to repatriate distressed OFWs sheltered at their respective MWOFRCs.
In his report, Mustafa said 161 of the 268 OFWs who have availed of the Oman amnesty program have been repatriated and the last batch of 29 OFWs sheltered at the MWOFRC had left Oman last Wednesday.
“We will do our best to maintain zero ward at the shelter,” he said.
Mustafa also reported to Secretary Baldoz that the Philippine Embassy in Muscat, headed by Ambassador Narciso Castaneda, has been informed by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman that the Sultanate has extended the amnesty program for foreign undocumented workers until October 28.
“The amnesty program, which originally began on 3 May this year was supposed to end on 31 July, but with this good news, the POLO, in coordination with our Philippine Embassy, will step up its efforts to encourage undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Oman to avail of the amnesty to avoid paying overstay penalties and other fines,” Baldoz said.
Undocumented OFWs in Oman who may wish to avail of the amnesty under the extended period have been advised to contact the POLO-Muscat hotline, +968) 9355-7931. Notices and a guide on how to avail of the program have been posted in the Philippine Embassy in Muscat website (www.muscatpe.dfa.gov.ph) and its Facebook page. (PNA)