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Iloilo prov’l, city gov’ts activate help desk amid Israel-Hamas war

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) – The Iloilo provincial and city governments have activated their help desks to attend to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families who may be affected by the ongoing tension between Israel and Palestine.

The provincial government already reactivated its Task Force Bulig Ilonggo (Executive Order No. 004 Series of 2020) and created a social media chat to proactively respond to the families of OFWs, citing that the government will extend immediate assistance to possible Ilonggo victims.

In a press conference on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. said that he already coordinated with other concerned agencies, including the local chief executives (LCEs), to fast-track if there are Ilonggo OFWs affected by the war.

“Kay may crisis gani kita sa iban nga pungsod, ginatinguhaan naton nga makabulig man kita to sa aton mga kasimanwa… Nagapabulig kita sa aton mayors nga maparadyuhan kag mayo gid kung makareport sila kung may constituents kita sa Israel. Mas maayo gid nga may ara kita nga platform kita sa aton operations center,” Defensor said.

Francisco Heler, Public Employment Service Office (PESO)-Iloilo head, also said that based on their latest data, there are around 78 Ilonggo OFWs in Israel coming from 10 local government units (LGUs) in the province; and noted that the Overseas Filipinos and Migration Development Center under his division is ready to assist Ilonggo OFWs or attend to inquiries from their relatives.

Heler stressed that the residents can coordinate with the provincial government to contact their relatives 24/7 through the 

following contact numbers: 09989686800; 09989686801; 09616804428; 09774517156; 09983575791; 09219528750; 09167583156; 09177543833.

PESO-Iloilo City manager Gab Umadhay, on the other hand, revealed that there are 18 residents of Iloilo City who are currently in Israel. Out of the 18 OFWs, three were located at the war zone area, while the 15 others were far from the hotspot areas.

Umadhay also appealed to the relatives of the OFWs to coordinate with them as the city gov’t is ready to extend its help, making sure that their relatives are all safe.

Umadhay added that Ilonggos can ask for help by visiting the desk, through the PESO officer designated in their barangays and by contacting 333-1111-517.

The city government will also give financial assistance of P5,000 up to P10,000 to Ilonggo OFWs affected by the ongoing war. (AAL/JNH/PIA Iloilo)

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John Noel Herrera

Information Officer

Region 6

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