Proposed OFW department will benefit 10M Pinoys abroad

Senator Ronald Dela Rosa (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Senator Ronald dela Rosa pushed anew for the Department of Overseas Filipinos to better assist in improving the lot of 10.2 million overseas Filipinos in more than 200 countries and territories.

Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, who filed Senate Bill 2110, or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act, said in a statement on Monday that the new department could better look after the interest of Filipinos overseas without causing a “swell” to the bureaucracy since it will be an integration of functions of existing concerned government agencies.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go filed a similar bill (SB 1949) last year and was certified urgent by the Palace.

Of the 10.2 million Filipinos abroad, 4.8 million are permanent migrants, 4.2 million temporary migrants, and 1.2 million are irregular migrants

There are also 2.2 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), based on the 2019 Survey on Overseas Filipinos by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“With the huge number of our kababayan (fellow citizens) living and working abroad, it is important that policies and programs for the promotion of their welfare and protection must be unequivocally instituted,” Dela Rosa stated.

“With a single but focused department wherein the mandates of key agencies are synchronized, our overseas Filipinos are assured of easily accessible and more available, and, at the same time, swift assistance and services. Hence, the early passage of this bill is earnestly sought,” he said.

Under SB 2110 filed on March 24, 2021, the Department of Overseas Filipinos will subsume all the powers and functions of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Commission on Overseas Filipinos, all Philippine Overseas Labor Offices and the International Labor Affairs Bureau under the Department of Labor and Employment, the Social Welfare Attaches Office under the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will be attached to the proposed department for purposes of policy and coordination.

In the House of Representatives, House Bill 5832 also known as the Department of Filipinos Overseas passed the final reading with 173 votes in March last year. (PNA)

By Benjamin Pulta  May 17, 2021, 2:45 pm