President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes Filipino workers returning from Kuwait in this file photo taken on February 12, 2018.
PHOTO BY MALACAÑANG
MANILA – The Philippines moved one step closer to creating a Department of Overseas Filipino Workers (DOFW) as officials began deliberations on 31 bills filed to create the new department on Tuesday (September 17).
The proposed department would become the focal agency, which will deal with all the affairs and concerns of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). It will protect and promote the rights of all Filipinos living and working overseas, ensuring their safety, health, and freedom from abuses, as well as their development and general well-being.
It will secure and broaden the socio-economic opportunities of overseas Filipinos within the national borders of the country.
The House Committees on Government Reorganization and Overseas Workers Affairs is tacking the 31 bills filed to create the new department.
The bills will be submitted to the Senate before it will be endorsed to the president.
Among the contentious issues being tackled revolves around the several government agencies dealing with OFW concerns, with some of the bills calling for the abolition of certain government agencies, and others proposing the transfer these offices to the new department.
Officials are discussing how the existing agencies Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will be dealt with as a consequence since the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers encompasses all facets of what OFWs face.
The absence of a single agency to address foreign employment concerns has made it difficult for the government to focus on the needs and demands of “foreign Filipino employment, in general, and of OFWs, in particular.”
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced it as one of his administration’s priorities. It also has the support of the House leadership, with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, who are also among the authors of the proposed bills.
The start of plenary deliberations on the bill is expected by the second week of November 2019.
Officials target the proposed measure to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte before the end of the year. ICA/Expat Media
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