The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has put up Task Force Taal Libreng Tawag to offer domestic and international calls, a charging station, free Wi-Fi, and other ancillary services to Taal evacuees sheltered in evacuation centers in Cavite and Batangas.

For its pilot operation Monday, January 20, 2020, the OWWA team led by Deputy Administrators (DA) Josefino I. Torres and Mocha J. Uson, and OWWA Region IV-A led by Regional Director Maria Luisa Reyes proceeded to Alfonso Central Elementary School where 1,957 evacuees from Lemery, Batangas are housed. They brought in two generator sets to power-up the mobile communication hub initially comprising four mobile phones and a charging station. An OFW Help Desk was also set up for the evacuees who were OFWs themselves or with OFW relatives, to answer inquiries regarding recently implemented OWWA programs and services like rebate and e-Card.

In setting up the OWWA Task Force Taal Libreng Tawag, DA Josefino I. Torres said the communication facility is the welfare agency’s share of assistance and care to the Batanguenos displaced by the Taal volcano unrest.

“The Libreng Tawag is open to all the evacuees, OFW or not, so they can contact their families, loved ones, or whoever they would like to reach out regarding their current situation,” said DA Torres.

Of the four lines opened for the evacuees, two lines may be used for international calls. Meanwhile, free Wi-Fi service will be available for evacuees whose contacts can only be reached through social media and email.

Documenting the event for her vlog, Deputy Administrator Mocha J. Uson went around to check on the evacuees queuing for the free snacks provided by OWWA and the milk tea donated by a private enterprise. While soliciting the personal sentiments of a group of women evacuees, DA Mocha noted the remarkable positivity they exuded despite the adverse effect of the natural calamity in their lives.

It was mutual gratification with both DA Mocha, speaking for OWWA, and Alfonso Mayor Randy Salamat and Lizel Vidal of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) thanking each other for the opportunity to serve the Taal evacuees.

Per OWWA database, there are 43,132 active and non-active OFWs in Alfonso, Cavite and Batangas. The next Task Force Taal Libreng Tawag will be in Batangas, venue to be announced. (OWWA)