Government Sets Up Helpline for OFWs Affected by Earthquake in Japan

INFERNO This aerial photo shows buildings burning in the city of Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, after a major 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Noto region in Ishikawa prefecture. AFP PHOTO
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The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has taken swift action to assist overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families who have been affected by the magnitude-7.5 earthquake that struck Ishikawa prefecture in Japan on New Year’s Day. To provide immediate assistance and information, the DMW has established a helpline for those in need.

The earthquake, which jolted Ishikawa prefecture on the main island of Honshu, triggered a tsunami over a meter high. Thankfully, no Filipinos were reported hurt. However, some OFWs have sought refuge in evacuation shelters while others have chosen to stay in their homes due to damaged roads and bridges.

OFWs and their family members who require assistance or information can reach out to the DMW-OWWA Japan Help desk at Hotline 1348 or 632-1348. Additionally, they may contact the DMW-Migrant Workers Office (MWO)-Osaka Hotline at the numbers 81 7022756082 and 81 7024474016.

Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac, the officer in charge of the DMW, shared these contact numbers on Twitter as well. The DMW-OWWA Japan Help Desk hotline is 1348 (abroad: 632 1348), and the DMW-MWO-OWWA Osaka hotline numbers are 81 7022756082 and 81 7024474016.

Philippine Ambassador to Tokyo, Mylene Garcia-Albano, provided updates on the situation. She confirmed that there are approximately 1,300 Filipinos in Ishikawa Prefecture, which is located in the western part of Japan and near the sea. Out of this number, 35 individuals were transferred to the city hall due to the evacuation alert issued. The embassy has received reports that some Filipinos have moved to temporary shelters, while others have chosen to remain in their homes.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed his sympathies to Japan in the wake of the earthquake. He stated, “We are deeply saddened to hear of the magnitude-7.6 earthquake in Japan on New Year’s Day.” The President assured Japan that the Philippine government is collaborating closely with the Japanese government to ensure the welfare of Filipinos, who fortunately remain unharmed. He further emphasized that the Philippines is ready to provide assistance in any way possible, as both countries face shared climate challenges within the Pacific Ring of Fire.

In addition to the government’s efforts, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has prepared teams for possible deployment to Japan if requested by the Japanese government. These teams were previously deployed in Turkey during last year’s deadliest earthquake in February. General Romeo Brawner Jr., the AFP Chief of Staff, expressed the military’s support and sympathy for the Japanese people in a statement, recognizing the severity of the situation and the issuance of major tsunami warnings.

The DMW’s establishment of a helpline and the Philippine government’s swift response demonstrate their commitment to assisting OFWs and their families affected by the earthquake in Japan. By providing immediate support and information, they aim to alleviate the concerns and ensure the well-being of Filipino workers abroad.

Source: The Manila Times

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