Concerned with the social unrest and fierece rioting in Greece,a senior member of Congress has urged the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment to ascertain the situation of Filipino workers based in that country.“We have thousands of Filipino workers, mostly sailors in Greece. They ought to be dutifully looked after, amid the worsening social conditions there,” said Cotabato Rep. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, a member of the bicameral Commission on Appointments.
“If there are Filipino workers there suddenly thrown out of their jobs, then they should be provided the means to safely come home. They should also be extended adequate assistance so they can be re-employed here or elsewhere,” Taliño-Mendoza said.
Struggling to avoid national bankruptcy, Greece has been hit by angry protests over the government’s decision to enforce severe austerity measures, including aggressive spending cutbacks and higher consumer taxes.
The measures come with a $142-billion multinational rescue package meant to prevent Greece’s debt crisis from spreading to other financially distressed European Union countries such as Spain and Portugal.
Greece is the Philippines’ biggest source of remittances from migrant workers based in Europe, after the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Norway.
Sailors contribute nearly 70 percent of all the money sent home by Filipino workers based in Greece.
Citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Taliño-Mendoza said Filipino workers in Greece sent home a total of $200.342 million in 2009, up 72 percent or $83.606 million from the $116.736 million they remitted in 2008.
In the first two months of 2010, they wired home $31.789 million, up 25 percent from $25.412 million in the same period in 2009.