Senate ready should Duterte convene special session of Congress for standby OFW repatriation funds

(Eagle News)-The Senate is ready should President Rodrigo Duterte convene a special session of Congress for the creation of standby funds for Overseas Filipino Workers in the Middle East.

“If ever the President will request for a special session for the need to pass a supplemental budget to help repatriate our kababayans from the Middle East, we in the Senate are prepared to act on his request and can meet at anytime in the interest of our OFWs,” Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said.

But according to Senate President Tito Sotto, the convening will still depend on President Duterte’s command conference tonight.

Even then, Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate committee on finance, said they would start talks with the House of Representatives to discuss the contingency fund.

“As to the process as an appropriation measure, it must originate from the House but I am sure both houses will fast-track any urgent measure requested by the President particularly for our OFWs,” Angara said.

According to Zubiri, “the President can also utilize for the meantime the billions of pesos of contingency funds in the OWWA available for repatriation immediately.”

But Senator Francis Tolentino said these were not enough because of the sheer number of OFWs.

“Those funds are readily available for these emergencies,” Zubiri said.

Tensions are rising between Iran and Iraq and the United States after the US killing of Iran top military official Qassam Soleimani.

Iran has vowed to avenge his death, while Iraq slammed what it said was the US “attack” on its sovereignty. Meanne Corvera