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President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes Filipino workers returning from Kuwait in this file photo taken on February 12, 2018.

PHOTO BY MALACAÑANG


Department of OFW: all you need to know

 

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).

Here’s all you need to know

What is the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers?

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.

What other function will it serve?

It will secure and broaden the socio-economic opportunities of overseas Filipinos within the national borders of the country.

Who is tackling the proposed law?

The House Committees on Government Reorganization and Overseas Workers Affairs is tacking the 31 bills filed to create the new department.

What happens after deliberations at committee level?

The bills will be submitted to the Senate before it will be endorsed to the president.

What are the contentious issues being tackled?

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.

How will this affect POEA and OWWA?

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.

Why is it important to have one agency for OFWs?

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.”

Who are supporting the DOWF bill?

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.

When will plenary deliberations start?

The start of plenary deliberations on the bill is expected by the second week of November 2019.

When will the bill be passed?

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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