UPON instruction of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) may now avail themselves of the 24/7 OFW Lounge at Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for free.
“Now, our OFWs have a place to call their own in our airports similar to premium lounges being enjoyed by privileged travelers,“ Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said. “Itong dedicated space para sa papaalis na OFWs ay bukas na. Puwede na nilang gamitin. Binuksan namin ito batay na rin sa utos ng Pangulong Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ R. Marcos Jr.”
“Ito’y isa lamang sa mga OFWs VIP Lounge na ating bubuksan sa mga international airport sa Metro Manila, Clark, Cebu, at Davao para sa ating mga kababayan na paalis at papunta na sa kani-kanilang trabaho abroad. Gusto nating suklian ang malasakit ng OFWs sa ating bansa. Sila ang modern-day heroes. Isang legacy ito ni Pangulong PBBM,” he said.
Speaker Romualdez, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Arnaldo “Arnell” A. Ignacio, and OWWA Deputy Administrator Atty. Mary Melanie “Honey” Quiño inspected the OFW Lounge at the fourth floor of Terminal 1 near the pre-departure area on Saturday night.
They said a similar space is already being prepared at nearby Terminal 3.
The opening of an OFW lounge at NAIA Terminal 1 has also been advocated by Zamboanga Sibugay 1st District Rep. Wilter Y. Palma, who has introduced a bill to this effect.
The Speaker said the use by OFWs of their VIP lounge is free of charge, regardless of what type of air tickets they are holding.
The lounge is patterned after similar spaces run by airlines but only for their business-class and first-class passengers, who are paying twice, thrice or more than economy-class riders, he added.
He pointed out that OFWs would enjoy the amenities of airline lounge like assistance desk, comfortable seating, wi-fi, charging stations, and power outlets, food, including lugaw or porridge, sandwiches, drinks like water, coffee and juice, biscuits, pastries, egg, and the like.
“We want to show our deep gratitude and appreciation for our overseas workers for continuing to help our country grow its economy and help their families through their remittances. Making their departure as comfortable as it can be and easing their loneliness is the least we can do for them. We want them to take care of themselves for our country and their families,” he stressed.
The leader of the 300-plus-strong House of Representatives revealed that the OFW Lounge is a joint project of the House of Representatives, OWWA, Department of Migrant Workers, and Manila International Airport Authority.
He said the space would also include help desk where workers could seek assistance and answers to their questions, or discuss their concerns.
“We also intend the lounge to be a place where our departing kababayan could build or foster camaraderie, and share experiences and maybe job prospects,” he said.