ANGKLA Party-list said the flight delays of seafarers and overseas Filipino workers caused by the recent Xiamen Airlines incident have brought significant impact to their employment.

Angkla Rep.Jesus Manalo, Chairman of the Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs, said the deployment of seafarers and several OFWs were imperilled which led to widespread socio-economic repercussions.

Seafarers were not able to take their scheduled flights due to NAIA runways mishap involving Xiamen Air Boeing 737 -800 plane on August 16.

 “Seafarers could not be deployed to their respective international ports, and their vessels could also not depart on scheduled dates without the necessary crew,” Manalo said.
Also, some of the visas of some ofws lapsed, and they could not be deployed on time pursuant to their contracts.

“We commiserate with all the OFWs, both land-based and sea-based, whose deployments were imperilled, and homecomings disrupted. Scheduled reunions and vacations of OFW families were also thrown into confusion. It was a crisis,” he said.

 Angkla Party-list commended the efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) for responding to the crisis and assisting OFWs stranded in NAIA by providing food and lodging, and assisting in visa and re-booking concerns.

He said, these government agencies have re-affirmed the commitment of the Duterte administration to protect OFWs and be responsive to their needs.

 However, that Xiamen airline incident was an avoidable crisis and should never happen again.

Manalo, who is also the vice chairman of the Committee on Transportation said he will make the Department of Transportation (Dot), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) answerable to the people.

“Why was there no contingency plan? Why do they have poor coordination between the government agencies and the airlines? What was Secretary Tugade doing the crisis? How did he coordinate with the various concerned agencies? Most importantly, what are we going to do in the short and medium-term to prevent a similar crisis?” he asked.

“And when are we going to commit to build a new airport sufficient to meet the projected passenger demand, 20 to 30 years from now? As a country where migrant labour and tourism substantially contribute to the economy, we must come up with a plan. Lives and livelihoods are on the line,” he stressed.

Courtesy from Manila Times

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