No OFW affected in Japan quake

THERE was no reported incident of overseas Filipino workers being affected by the two earthquakes that struck the Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

“We received an update from Labor Attaché Luz Talento of Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Tokyo that no Filipino was hurt from the series of earthquakes that hit the Kumamoto area in Kyushu island; we thank God that they are safe. We are also one with the global community in praying for the speedy recovery of Japan from the recent disaster,” Baldoz said.

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake shook Kumamoto on April 14 followed by another quake with a 7.3 magnitude on 16 April at around 1:25 a.m. at the depth of 10 kilometers (six miles).

The POLO office however still cautioned that aftershocks in the area would be felt the next few days.

“Our POLO office in Tokyo will be continuously monitoring the situation in the earthquake-hit areas in Japan. In case of any eventuality, we have in place the joint Manual of Operations promulgated by the Department of Foreign Affairs, DOLE, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, in providing assistance to migrant workers and other Filipinos overseas through one country-team method,” Baldoz said.

The Secretary explained that under the country-team approach, all officers, representatives and personnel of the Philippine government posted abroad, regardless of their mother agencies, should act as one country-team under the leadership of the Ambassador.

“This one-country team is responsible in implementing crisis management, evacuation, and repatriation in case of war, rebellion, riots, natural disasters, pandemics, and other public health emergencies or other crises posing imminent danger to Filipinos overseas,” Baldoz said.

There are around 240,686 Filipinos in Japan.

Of the number, 23,220 carry work visas as professionals, semi-skilled workers, laborers, and household service workers.

Kumamoto Prefecture, whose capital is Kumamoto City, is located at the southern western part of Japan, is also known for its active volcanoes.

Japan is one of the most seismically active areas on Earth, according to the report of BBC Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos.

It accounts for about 20 percent of global quakes of magnitude 6.0 or greater. On the average seismometers—an instrument used to measure motion of the ground, including those of seismic waves generated by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other seismic sources—are recording tremors every five minutes on average

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