Two departing  OFWs bound for  Taiwan who were held  by security  personnel  at the NAIA Terminal 1 yesterday expressed a sigh of relief after members of  the  DOLE  Inter-agency Team, along with the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO),   extended  timely  assistance to them.

OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado said that as part of the Task Force created to address the “Laglag Bala’ issue, OWWA personnel assigned at the  NAIA will be on hand  to extend  immediate  assistance to  affected outbound OFWs.    An OWWA counter is situated inside the NAIA premises   to attend to the needs of  OFWs,  especially those needing utmost attention.

OWWA and POEA lawyers were also at the airport  yesterday to lend support to  the OFWs who were visibly traumatized by  the experience. The two OFWs who were released to the custody of OWWA   are presently being accommodated at the OWWA Halfway Home. The agency is likewise coordinating with the OFWs’ local recruitment agencies for  the re-booking of their tickets at the soonest possible.

The OWWA chief added that she has issued Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) Advisory No. 08, Series of 2015, advising all accredited PDOS providers to   remind PDOS participants not to carry, either in their checked-in or carry-on luggage, items prohibited under R.A. 10591. PDOS providers are also informed of the OWWA assistance in case OFWs are held by the authorities, as well as to monitor the situation of their workers as they go through the departure formalities.

Meanwhile the two OFWs thanked OWWA, PAO and POEA for the help extended to them.

“Malaki po ang pasasalamat namin at sana huwag na talagang magdala ng anumang bala alam man natin o hindi dahil tiyak na ikapapahamak natin iyon,” one of the OFWs said.

When asked why a bullet was found in her possession, the OFW replied that she has no knowledge that a bullet was inside the stitched red cloth that she purchased from the `albularyo’ to serve as an amulet against any form of illness. She informed OWWA that she got sick sometime in January and from that time on, she has been keeping the said ‘amulet’ in her belongings. The OFW, who requests anonymity, is from Camarines Sur.

For any query or request for assistance, OWWA may be contacted through the following numbers:  mobile number 0917 5908658; 0917-590-5008; 551-1560; 551-6641 and 833-6992.