Bello extols OFWs; pays tribute to fallen heroes

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III heaped praises on overseas Filipino workers for their sacrifices and heroism in the face of the global COVID pandemic.

In his message on the observance of International Migrants Day on Friday, Bello also paid tribute to OFWs who had died while serving in foreign soil despite the health crisis.

“In these difficult times, we take our hats off to our OFWs around the world for their selfless sacrifices. From being frontliners to back support in the global fight against COVID-19, they all deserve our accolades,” Bello said.

He also said, “I also commend the Filipino workers who were honored in their respective host countries — from Asia and the Pacific to the Middle East, and from Europe to the Americas — for their hard work and dedication that helped the world economy remain afloat.”

The labor chief was referring to migrant Filipinos who were given recognition in various parts of the world for their outstanding and exemplary performance at work and service.

“And to those who have fallen in the line of duty, they are truly our heroes. They fought a good fight because just like what our migrant workers are known for, they worked tirelessly to make good for their families, and contributed enormously to our country,” Bello said.

He cited reports from the labor department’s foreign posts indicating that COVID cases among OFWs continue to be recorded daily with the highest number coming from the Middle East with 6,721 cases.

There were 520 deaths in the region. In Qatar alone for instance, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office reported that the POLO-verified positive cases of OFWs has increased to 3,712 as of Saturday, December 19.

Of this number, 17 OFWs had died. More than 200 cases were added since last month.

The POLOs in Europe and the Americas reported 1,994 cases with 254 deaths.

In Asia, the foreign offices recorded 1,106 COVID cases with one dead.

The labor chief also said the POLOs are closely monitoring the condition of OFWs and are providing assistance in their respective jurisdictions.

“We continue to pray for the health and safety of our OFWs so that they can happily rejoin their families back home,” Bello said.