NOTE: THIS PRESS RELEASE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The COVID pandemic made responding to cries for help of Overseas Filipino Workers more difficult. This is why Cong. Edgar Chatto expressed gratitude to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for the support extended particularly to Boholano OFWs.
A Boholana Overseas Foreign Worker’s employment contract in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia ended in August. However, she had not been able to process her return papers.
Her husband, who worried for her welfare and safety, sought the help of the office of Cong. Edgar Chatto to request for her repatriation.
Chatto instantly reached out to DFA Migrant Workers Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Arriola regarding her predicament.
The matter was also relayed to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through Sec. Sylvestre Bello and OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Jeddah later on confirmed the Sierra Bullones native’s inclusion in the September 10 repatriation flight.
She arrived in Manila, awaited PCR results and cleared of COVID, flew home to Bohol on September 14 and underwent quarantine before finally being able to come home to her family.
Her gratitude profuse to Chatto for interceding with appropriate agencies, enabling her homecoming.
Chatto’s strong links with DFA and OWWA also enabled the return of remains of a Boholano native of Maribojoc who succumbed to death due to complications from COVID in Abu Dhabi.
The family, desperate to bring his remains home, reached out to Chatto’s office for help. Chatto sent a text message detailing the assistance requested to Usec. Arriola.
Within a day, Arriola sent a feedback to Chatto that the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi is facilitating the compliance of requirements to process the cremation and the quick transport of his remains back home.
“We are thankful that we have the support of DFA and OWWA to swiftly respond to concerns of Boholano OFWs, especially in providing assistance especially during this crisis,” Chatto had expressed in meetings of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs.
The help of DFA even extended to the return home of a fisherman from Pamilacan whose boat encountered engine problems, drifted in the sea, and reached Malaysian waters in Sabah. The fisherman’s family reported the incident to Chatto who immediately asked for the assistance of DFA.
Chatto’s office continues to partner with the OFW services desk at the Bohol Employment and Placement Office (BEPO) of the Provincial Government, DFA, OWWA, DOLE in assistance program for OFWs. He first established an OFW Affairs Desk when he was vice governor, sustained the program in his first term in Congress, institutionalized at BEPO when he was governor, and continued when as he came back to Congress.