October 3, 2009
Calamity assistance not calamity loans! - Migrante
Calamity loan? No way!
Migrante International (MI) slammed Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s offer of calamity loans “as it falls short on giving significant relief to our kababayans affected by the storm. This will only put the debts of OFW families from knee-deep to drowning heights. If they really want to help, OWWA should just give away calamity assistance packages.”
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, donations from the international community has reached P566 million as of October 2. The National Disaster Coordinating Council on the other hand reported the initial total of affected as 512,092 families or 2,506,845 individuals.
Martinez cited the plight of OFW Danilo Catalon, a resident of Marikina City, who was helpless upon hearing the news that his wife was sick and his whole family was staying at the evacuation center in Nangka Elementray School. Their house was completely destroyed by the floods.
Catalon is one of the 200 workers who got stranded in the islands of Maldives. Fourty of them arrived yesterday in Manila “terribly” hungry and without any salary to give to their families.
“Wala na nga silang trabaho, bahay at pagkain, ibabaon pa sila sa pagkakautang,” Martinez lamented.
Migrante International also slammed OWWA’s “unfathomable callousness” in dealing with Catalon’s co-workers from Maldives.
“They languished for 6 months in the island-paradise because not a single assistance was given to them by any Philippine government agency. Not even a bottled water was extended to them upon arrival at the airport. And in the middle of the storm, they were being asked to leave the OWWA shelter,” exclaimed Martinez.
The workers are locals from Isabela, Cagayan, Pangasinan, La Union, Kalinga, Albay and Marinduque, provinces that are presently being hit by typhoon Pepeng. ###
Gary Martinez/ Chairperson/ 09393914418
Danilo Catalon/ OFW from Maldives/ 09394911211