Picture for illustration purposes only.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
MANILA – The Philippines moved one step closer to legalising the Department of Filipino Overseas (DFO) with two committees at the House of Representatives approving the bill to create the new department.
The DFO will be the primary agency tasked to monitor and manage the foreign employment of Filipinos and promote the welfare of Filipinos overseas.
On Tuesday, the House Committees on Government Reorganization and Overseas Workers Affairs approved the bill to create the DFO.
Under the bill, the DFO shall be responsible to creating, coordinating, promoting, and implementing policies and programs for Filipinos overseas and ensure the protection of their rights to decent work and fair employment.
Serving as a one-stop-shop, the DFO shall absorb the powers and functions of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs; Commission on Filipinos Overseas: Philippine Overseas Labor Offices; International Labor Affairs Bureau; Philippine Overseas Employment Administration; and the Social Welfare Attaches Office.
It shall also have administrative supervision over the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration as an attached agency for policy and program coordination, monitoring and evaluation.
The DFO may also regulate the operations of private recruitment agencies involved in the employment of Filipinos abroad.
To combat illegal recruitment and human trafficking cases affecting Filipinos abroad, the DFO shall be granted the power to initiate, pursue, and help prosecute illegal recruiters and traffickers in coordination with the Department of Justice.
The department shall improve cooperation and coordination with countries of destination, and monitor labor developments in foreign jurisdictions to ensure that the terms and conditions of work afforded to overseas Filipino workers, are in accordance with applicable and appropriate Philippine, on-site, and international standards.
Social and welfare services can be offered to OFWs, which include insurance, social work assistance, legal, assistance, cultural services, and remittance services.
The bill proposes the establishment of the career Assistance-to-Nationals corps similar to the foreign services corps and the foreign trade representative corps.
Under the one country-team approach, all officers, representatives, and personnel of the Philippine government posted abroad regardless of their mother agencies shall, on a per-country basis, act as a one country-team with a mission under the leadership of the ambassador or the consul general.
The DFO will also have a management information system on Filipinos overseas, particularly on OFWs, to support its operations and to have a source of relevant data for programs and policy formulation. ICA/PNA/Expat Media
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