“We call on Ambassador Manuel Lopez to act swiftly to determine the conditions of our compatriots living in the areas affected, to secure their safety and to extend all necessary support and assistance to them,” Migrante-Japan
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — An overseas Filipino group in Japan has expressed its concern for Filipino migrants living in areas that were affected by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and consequently by the 30-meter high tsunami that hit the country’s northern coastline on March 11.
“We call on Ambassador Manuel Lopez to act swiftly to determine the conditions of our compatriots living in the areas affected, to secure their safety and to extend all necessary support and assistance to them,” Migrante-Japan, a chapter of Migrante International, the largest OFW group, said in a statement.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that there are 305,972 Filipinos in Japan,224,558 of whom are living in its central and northern regions.
Migrante-Japan, for its part, estimates that about 10,000 to 20,000 Filipinos live in Northern Japan, mostly marriage migrants, entertainers, trainees and factory workers. The OFW group said “those living along the Sendai coastline might have already lost their homes and possibly their jobs as well, and therefore, need immediate support in terms of rescue and evacuation.”
As of March 12, reports say that there are 432 confirmed dead, 1,128 injured and 725 are missing. Their names and nationalities are still unknown so far.
The DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo is already in coordination with the Philippine consulates in Moioka and Iwate in “closely monitoring the situation of Filipinos in Japan.” The consulates were instructed to “look after the condition of Filipinos in its respective areas.”
“The Government and our Diplomatic and Consular officials are working closely with authorities at all levels in Japan, to ascertain the condition of Filipino nationals in the affected areas, respond to their needs, and ensure their welfare and safety,” Foreign acting secretary Albert Del Rosario said in a statement.
The embassy has set up emergency landline number for Filipinos who wants to inquire about the conditions of their loved ones in Japan. The emergency numbers are as follow: +81-3-5562-1570, +81-3-5562-1577, and +81-3-5562-1590. Embassy officials can also be e-mailed for inquiries at email@example.com.
The DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs’ Crisis Management Center are (02) 834-4646 and (02) 834-4580. Inquiries may also be sent through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Migrante International, for its part, has prepared a Sagip-Migrante hotline and may be contacted through the mobile phone at 0932-3995952 and by visiting their office at 45 Cambridge St. Cubao, Quezon City. Filipino communities in Japan may also be contacted in their respective email addresses and mobile phone numbers as stipulated below:
Nestor Puno (NAGOYA) Migrante Japan
Mobile Phone: 08035835334 or 09092240922
Cesar Santoyo (Tokyo metropolitan area) Center for jap-Filipino Children
Mobile Phone: +81 9017630290
Agalyn Nagase (Saitama) KAFIN Migrant Center
Mobile Phone: +81 9092037195
Olive Akatsu (GABRIELA-Tokyo)
Mobile Phone: +81 8010352808
Rev. Hajime Fujii (SENDAI – most affected by earthquake and tsunami)
Mobile Phone: +81 9099444625
Office: +81 11-644-6844
Virgie Ishihara (NAGOYA) Filipino Migrant Center
Mobile Phone: +81 9089558718
Rossana Tapiru Migrante – Nagoya Chapter
Mobile Phone: +81 9041609447
“We hope that the Philippine Embassy (in Japan) will not follow the lead of the DFA, which handled the political crisis in Egypt and Libya indecisively and incompetently,” Migrante Japan said.
“In crisis situations like this, Filipinos are known for their bayanihan spirit,” Migrante Japan said, “However we dare our government officials to take the cudgel for our distressed compatriots instead of just prodding Filipino communities in Japan for much needed help.”