The Japanese Multi Contractor Cooperative has been providing assistance to 240 Negrense workers whose scheduled departure for Japan in April 2020 has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leah Tinsay, president of Tricastle International Inc., said the 240 construction technical interns who were bound for Japan in April last year are from different parts of Negros Occidental.
They were unable to leave when a lockdown was declared in the Philippines and Japan closed its borders again before the end of December 2020 because of a new COVID-19 variant, she said.
There is no indication yet when these workers will be able to enter Japan, Tinsay said.
She said the Multi Contractors Cooperative led by its chairman Kazuo Arai and other member companies put together some funds to help support the 240 workers.
The cooperative sent a P1.5 million donation so the workers could be provided with cash, food packs, groceries and several kilos of rice, she said.
This reached the workers through the efforts of the staff of Tricastle International Inc. and Murcia Vice Mayor Johnny Reosura, Tinsay said.
She said the cooperative is grateful for the support of Murcia Mayor Gerry Roxas, Blumintrit Barangay Captain Ronald Olvido and his kagawads for providing the venue for the distribution of the assistance and ensuring that COVID safety protocols were followed.
The assistance was given to the workers from October 29 to November 2 in time for All Saints Day, December 18 to 20 in time for Christmas, and the last release will be on Holy Week, Tinsay said.
Tricastle International Inc. is very grateful for the cooperative’s support, she said, adding that some of the waiting workers have also been receiving direct financial assistance from employers and Negrense workers in Japan.
There are about a thousand remaining Negrense construction technical interns in Japan serving out their remaining three-year contracts, Tinsay said.
During the peak of the COVID-19 infections in Japan, there were very few of them who got infected.
The medical welfare, the hospital care and support of the companies for them were impeccable and they recovered fast, she said.
“In the last 12 months, the Multi Contractors Cooperative also negotiated well with the Japan Immigration to give special six-month extensions to the returning Negrense workers who had finished their contracts in Japan to save them from the hardship of returning to the Philippines due to the two weeks or more isolation, inconvenience in movement, high risk COVID exposure and most of all the unemployment that awaits them,” she said.
“The six-month special extension is a great advantage to have added income,” Tinsay said.
Tinsay said the Multi Contractors Cooperative chairman’s message to the Negrense workers is: “Please do not lose hope, continue to self-study about Japan, prepare your physical and mental strength for your Japan internship. Keep safe and healthy. On behalf of all the receiving companies, we are looking forward to your arrival in Japan, which we hope will be soon.”
“The 240 workers are keeping their faith and hope that anytime soon when Japan’s borders open, they will be there,” Tinsay said.*