SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
High-ranking government officials from the Labor, Foreign Affairs and Budget Departments, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) on Wednesday expressed their full support for the creation of the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers (DOFW).
In the 2nd joint meeting of the House Committees on Government Reorganization and Overseas Workers Affairs, Rep. Raymund Democrito Mendoza, Chairman of the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, said this is in response to the marching order of Speaker Alan Peter “Compañero” Cayetano, and pursuant to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte for the proposed bill to be signed into law by December 2019. Mendoza said the committees will have a joint technical working group (TWG) with the Senate by October and probably a hearing in Southeast Asia and Middle East.
Rep. Mario Vittorio Mariño, Chairman of the Committee on Government Reorganization, supported having a joint TWG and said, “We don’t want to have two TWGs working separately, so our TWG and that of the Senate will work as one to save us time.” Mariño added that both committees heard the clamor of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who came to the meeting from the different parts of the world to urge Congress to pass the creation of DOFW.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello expressed his support for the bill and said that they will prioritize it to help solve the problems encountered by OFWs and to streamline the bureaucracy. Bello likewise informed the committees that DOLE, as the lead agency on labor matters, even drafted its own version relative to the creation of a DOFW.
Deputy Speaker Prospero Pichay appealed to his colleagues to fast-track the establishment of the DOWF. “Dahil napakalaki po ng disparity. Masyadong injustice po ang ginagawa natin sa OFWs. We really need to fast-track the creation of OFW department. Not only the President ask for it, pero kailangan naman bigyan natin ng hustisya ang mga OFWs dahil sila po ang talagang tumutulong sa ekonomiya ng ating bansa,” said Pichay.