Be ready, OFWs in Greece told

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is studying possible implications of the debt crisis in Greece on over 60,000 Filipino workers there, with Philippine Embassy officials in Athens telling community leaders to help spread the word to better be prepared for any eventuality.

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Banks in Greece have been closed for a week after the European Central Bank refused an emergency loan that would infuse assistance into Greece’s deepening debt crisis.

“The DFA as well as the embassy in Athens are continuously monitoring the situation,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose told reporters in Manila on Monday.

“We still have to see the full extent of the implication of the result of [a]referendum,” he said.

In the recently held referendum in Greece, majority voted against a proposed international bailout, which could result in the country getting kicked out of the Eurozone.

Most overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Greece are seafarers.

A statement from the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said it hopes that seafarers aboard the Greek merchant fleet would not be affected by the crisis.

“We are counting on Greek trading ships, which are earning quite a lot in US dollars, to stay afloat. They are fairly insulated from the Greek government’s extreme financial distress,” said former senator and now TUCP president Ernesto Herrera.

Jose said the DFA is waiting for the “full extent [of the]results of [the]referendum.”

“In any case, the embassy is prepared to extend any assistance [to Filipinos], “ he added, referring to the government’s repatriation program.

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