Department of OFW mulled

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

Kabayan Partylist Rep. Ron Salo in an interview with CNN Philippines pushed for a consolidation of all bills creating a separate department dedicated to overseas Filipino workers (OFW)  and migrant workers welfare and development.

 

Salo said having all the various agencies dealing with migrant workers all in one department “under the baton of one conductor, the Secretary for Migrant Workers,” will improve the way government delivers its services and “address many of the issues and problems OFWs and other migrant Pinoy workers face.”

 

Salo said the situation now is that several agencies are spread across various departments which not only hampers coordination and response but also creates unnecessary burdens for OFWs hopping from one agency to another.

 

Salo chairs the Technical Working Group of the House Committee on Government Reorganization that hears the creation of the proposed department to come up with its report before the month ends.

 

He said the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration would be part of the new department of migrant workers being proposed.

 

At least five bills on overseas Filipinos are pending at the House of Representatives: HB00227, HB02187, HB02334, HB02813, and HB06519.

 

Citing Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas latest figures, Salo said the cash remittances from OFWs reached $25.3 billion from January to November 2017. Of this Saudi Arabia-based workers remittted $2.28 billion from January to November 2017 and from Kuwait, $ 735,236.00 from January to November 2017, based on the latest official BSP data available.

 

Salo emphasized that the Philippines should have more bilateral labor protection agreements, especially with the countries where we have many abused OFWs.

 

He also sees the need for better screening methods at our airports and seaports to stop human trafficking victims before they leave the country.

 

 

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