VP Binay off to Middle East Friday for OFW concerns

February 23, 2011 11:58 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 23 — Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, concurrent Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns, is scheduled to leave Friday for the Middle East, in yet another trouble-shooting mission in behalf of President Benigno Aquino III.

His announced itinerary brings him to the traditional Filipino labor destinations of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which shows that the trip had been on the calendar even before the ongoing crisis in Libya, and those of Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt.

Binay leaves for the Middle East as the Philippines embarks on a voluntary repatriation program for beleaguered Filipino workers in Libya.

This will be Binay’s first Middle East mission for OFWs since becoming presidential adviser and his second in behalf of distressed Filipinos abroad.

Over the recent weekend, he flew to Beijing to plead for clemency for three Filipinos sentenced to lethal injection. After meeting with key officials, the scheduled February 21 and 22 executions were deferred to a still unannounced date.

The Vice President is to hold bilateral discussions for a labor agreement that aims to improve the conditions of Filipino workers in the Middle East. In Kuwait, he will represent Aquino at celebrations for Kuwait’s February 25 National Day.

His office said he will also be closely monitoring the security situation of OFWs in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen as anti-government protests continue to wrack their capitals and major urban centers.

He said that his office is working closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and embassies in the region "to ensure that all preparation and contingency measures are smoothly implemented.”

Binay assured that government cares and “is doing everything in its power to promote the welfare and ensure the safety of our OFWs.” (PNA)

vcs/GJB

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