The Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs chairperson Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza discusses OFWs priority vaccination and insurance program on Thursday (March 10). (House of Representatives Twitter Account)

The head of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs said on Thursday (March 11) that he had appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to prioritize the Covid-19 vaccination of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The Department of Foreign Affairs reported on Thursday a total of 15,874 Covid-positive cases of OFWs.

TUCP party-list Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza, the House committee chairman, also said he had formed a technical working group to consolidate bills seeking to provide insurance benefits to OFWs.

House Bill 3811, filed by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, grants OFWs accidental death benefits, survivor’s benefits, permanent total disablement financial assistance, repatriation financial assistance, subsistence allowance, and monetary claims for unpaid or rightful and just wages.

Rodriguez said there had been numerous reports of maltreatment and exploitation suffered by OFWs.

“This led me to file this bill. The objective is to really protect our overseas workers,” he said.

A report from International Labor Affairs Bureau Director Alice Visperas said the government had granted $2.581 million worth of food and medical assistance and $1.047 million worth of financial assistance to Covid-infected OFWs. H. N. Camba