Juan Eu Konek

OFW Crisis Due to Conflict in Ukraine

By Sonny Fernandez

Niel Tero, a Filipino scholar and TFC correspondent based in Moscow and Joy Salve, an office worker in Poznan, Poland guested on the award-winning show, “Juan Eu Konek,” in February 2022. The livestreaming was  hosted by veteran journalist Rose Eclarinal and immigration expert Gene Alcantara.

Tero and Salve both talked about their own experience of the impact of the conflict in Ukraine to OFWs like them.

“Normal naman ang galaw namin dito so far, walang problema,” Tero said.

Salve hinted at being worried at first because there were speculations that Russia will also invade Poland but that she trusts their fate on God.

“For me as Christians, we always believe in God’s protection alam natin pag si God yung nasa side natin e hindi naman tayo mapapahamak,” Salve said.

In Russia, Tero said that while our kababayans are safe,  Russian military action in Ukraine however impact on their daily living.

Tero added  the  Filipino community leaders in Moscow are apprehensive that Apple pay and Google pay may not be available if the conflict further intensifies.

They are also having difficulties sending remittances to their families back home.

“About sa mga pagpapadala, karamihan dito ay mga pamilyado po maski yung mga remittance center hindi talaga makapagpadala,” Tero said.

The leaders according to Tero also lamented that the value of rubble has been depreciating since the beginning of the conflict.

“Mababa ang rate ng RUB ng pera rito kasi nung last time 83 to 84 ang isang dollar to rub tapos the other day umabot ng 100,” Tero added.

Tero said embassy estimates around 5,000 Filipinos in Russia.

Both Tero and Salve advise fellow Filipinos to remain vigilant and plan contingencies.

Tero assures that despite the situation, OFWs have nothing to worry about their safety.

“Wag mag-alala ang mga kababayan dito dahil on the go naman ang embassy dito sa Moscow,” he said.  

Salve on the other hand added that “yung ano namin is to be alert, to be vigilant and at the same time magkaron ng contingency plan in case that happens.” 

The Philippine Embassy in Poland has set up a facility in Lyiv, about 75 kms from the border to facilitate Filipinos who wish to be repatriated back home.