Duterte pushes for OFW department bill

By MA. ANGELICA GARCIA, GMA News

President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his call for Congress to pass legislation establishing a single agency that will focus on the needs and concerns of overseas Filipino workers.

“I also ask Congress to pass a law creating the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos,” Duterte said in his final State of the Nation Address.

“Kailangan po ito because they are suffering… with so many inadequacies both in our government response and including the monetary assistance,” the president added.

The said bill already passed the lower house but remains pending at the Senate.

In May, Duterte certified as urgent the bill creating the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos.

The certification of Senate Bill No. 2234 means the Senate can pass these measures on second and third reading on the same day.

The bill seeks to constitute to Philippine Overseas Employment Administration as the new DMWOF.

Upon the creation of the said department, the powers of the following agencies will be transferred to DMWOF:

  • The POEA, as created under the Executive Act No. 247 and The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act, as amended
  • The Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs of the DFA as provided under The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act, as amended
  • The Commission on Filipino Overseas
  • All Philippine Overseas Labor Offices under the Department of Labor and Employment
  • The International Labor Affairs Bureau under the DOLE
  • The National Reintegration Center for OFWs under the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration
  • The National Maritime Polytechnic under the DOLE
  • The International Social Services Office under the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Some lawmakers however were skeptical over having a separate department for OFWs, saying it will not solve issues of Filipino migrant workers.

Senator Joel Villanueva, meanwhile, said the Senate will finish the plenary deliberations in the coming months.

“Tuloy-tuloy lang po tayo sa pagsulong at pag-aksyon sa Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos. Nasa plenaryo na po itong panukala, at handa po tayong talakayin ito. Bilang certified urgent measure, itong panukala po ay nasa prayoridad ng Senado,” he told reporters. — DVM, GMA News

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