With the COVID-19 travel ban imposed by the Duterte government, thousands of OFWs and overseas resident visa-holders are seriously affected by airline cancellations which have been extended up to the 28th of March. Not only will this have a negative impact on the livelihood and income of OFWs but they are at risk of getting terminated from employment. This is likewise upsetting for overseas Filipino residents who are unable to get reunited with their families in Hong Kong. Migrante International reiterates its demand to the Duterte government to grant travel ban exemption to returning OFWs, residents, and students who will be travelling back to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan to resume their work, residency and academic studies.
The Duterte government must provide significant support and compensation for stranded OFWs bound for Hong Kong, Macau, China and Taiwan who have lost income and employment. These Filipino migrants have already been ripped off by the government and by private recruitment agencies with tons of money during their application. It is unacceptable that they should only receive a minuscule amount from OWWA for all the inconvenience and trouble that they are going through. This is an extremely inadequate response by the Duterte government for those who are about to lose their jobs and income.
OFWs are also expecting DFA to reach out to foreign authorities to facilitate visa extension for Filipino migrant workers and students stranded in the Philippines and in the cited countries. Migrante International chapters are already providing rights and welfare assistance to distressed OFWs and migrants hit by the travel ban and flight cancellations.