Isko Moreno willing to give aid to OFWs returning from Ukraine
MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said he is open to give assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who will be forced to return to the Philippines due to the worsening military conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
“Why not? Lalo naman kung taga-Maynila sila. Eh meron namang kakayanan ng kaunti ang Maynila at kung hindi man sila taga-Maynila, baka makatulong kami on a personal level. Ang importante lang naman dyan eh yung mabuhay sila. Yung buhay, buo, kasama nila ulit yung pamilya nila. Sama-sama silang magsikap ulit tapos may gobyerno silang masasandalan. Yon sa tingin ko maitatawid na natin ang taumbayan,” Moreno told reporters during a campaign sortie in General Trias City in Cavite province.
The latest count from the Department of Foreign Affairs revealed there are 300 Filipinos in Ukraine most of whom are working as domestic helpers in the capital city of Kyiv. The DFA disclosed that a number of Filipino workers in Ukraine have opted to stay so that they can continue to work and provide for the needs of their loved ones back home.
The Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer maintained Manila is willing to assist OFWs who will be displaced due to the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. “Pwede nila kaming lapitan at maaasahan nila kami na baka makatulong kami sa kanila,” he said.
If elected president, the 47-year-old Moreno said the first thing he will do when there are conflicts among countries and as a matter of foreign policy under his watch is to save the lives of as many Filipinos as possible.
“Unang-unang policy is iligtas ko yung mga Pilipino doon. Mamamayan muna before anything else. Masigurado ko na yung mahal nila sa buhay dito sa Pilipinas, na yung kanilang mga kaanak sa Ukraine ay makuha ng ligtas, buo, malusog sa lalong madaling panahon. Yun ang gagawin ko, to save as many Filipinos as possible and that is my job as president. Yun ang unang-una, first of everything. Buhay muna ng mga Filipino na OFW sa abroad ang mahalaga sa akin,” Moreno pointed out.
Moreno continued: “I hope wala pang nasasawing mga kababayan natin, and that is the job of the president. One of the key responsibilities is to protect every Filipinos in the country and in the world and I think sana by this time, naniniwala naman na baka may ginagawa na sila at ayoko silang husgahan. But you’re asking me, if I get elected, that’s the first thing in the morning, pagmulat ng mata ko, kung ako’y presidente, yun ang unang gagawin at iisipin ko. Paano sila maligtas at madala muli sa ating bansa o sa ligtas na lugar upang makapiling nilang muli yung kanilang mga mahal sa buhay.”
Asked if he will join the call for OFWs who still refuse to leave and go back to the country to immediately come home, Moreno said: “Well, kung sa tingin nila eh ligtas sila, hindi natin sila masisisi na patuloy na makipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa as long as ligtas sila. Sana mapahalagahan nila yung buhay. Pero in the same manner, kailangan unawain din natin yung mga OFW na kaya sila nandon at lumayo, at masakit man sa damdamin nila na malayo sa mga mahal nila sa buhay dito sa bansa eh kailangan nilang maghanap-buhay.”
“If they feel they are safe and always connect at makipag-ugnayan sa ating mga embahada, konsulado, then they can stay. But if they’re going to get my opinion over the situation mas papahalagahan ko ang buhay nila dahil baka mabigyan naman natin sila ng opportunity naman dito sa ating bansa,” he said.
The Aksyon Demokratiko presidential bet did not discount the possibility of returning to Cavite in the near future to reach as many people as possible so they can get to know him better and the rest of his slate.
From Gen. Trias, Moreno and the rest of “Team Isko” which includes his running mate Doc Willie Ong and senatorial candidates Dr. Carl Balita, Samira Gutoc and Jopet Sison also visited the towns Noveleta, Kawit and the city of Bacoor.
Cavite has around 2.3 million voters, the second vote-rich province in the Philippines after Cebu, which has an estimated 3.2 million voters. Interestingly, the province is also home to another presidential aspirant in Senator Panfilo Lacson who hails from Imus.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa mga Caviteños na talagang napakainit ng kanilang pagtanggap sa aming team ni Doc Willie, ni Samira, ni Carl, at ni Jopet. Now on our second day here in Cavite at mag-iikot naman kami, from here pupunta naman kami ng Noveleta, Kawit, and top portion of Bacoor. Kasi alam nyo naman napakalawak ng Cavite and I think hindi siya matatapos ng dalawang araw so, we will try to go back here and to reach as many people as possible,” the Manila city mayor said.
“Basta tayo deretso lang sa tao, kausap natin tao, mga mamamayan, at hopefully magbago ang kanilang isip, hopefully magustuhan nila ang aming team, hopefully gustuhin nila kami at mabigyan kami ng pagkakataon o tsansa na makapamuno sa ating bansa ngayon panahon na darating na halalan,” Moreno said.
Moreno was also asked to provide details on the meeting that took place between him and mayors and local officials in the province but declined.
“Maganda naman. (But) I am not in liberty to tell you about the meetings with the mayors and some officials of the local government of Cavite. But I am hopeful and it’s a good meeting, it’s a very good meeting. Kaya maraming salamat sa kanila kung nanonood man sila ngayon. Maraming-maraming salamat sa tulong ninyo,” he said.
If elected president, Moreno vowed to address the perennial problems of poverty, hunger, unemployment, inequality, and social injustice in the country by focusing on providing the minimum basic needs of the people – housing, education, health care, and jobs – through the efficient and prudent management of government resources. These form the main pillars of his 10-Point Bilis Kilos Economic Agenda.
To achieve this, the Moreno administration will continue the Build, Build Build program of President Rodrigo Duterte, with a focus on building more public housing, more public schools, and more public hospitals across the country to create more jobs and opportunities for our people.
To further alleviate the plight of the masses and protect industries, he will work closely with Congress to reduce the taxes on two of the most basic of commodities – petroleum and electricity.