Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government would work with stakeholders involved in the training, deployment, and placement of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to help address the concerns of our modern-day heroes.
Nograles met with leaders of the Alliance of Bonafide Recruiters for OFW’s Advancement and Development (ABROAD), a coalition composed of recruitment agency associations which submitted its position paper on measures to establish the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers (DOFW), a proposal the group supports.
He said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has been supportive of initiatives to establish a separate department that will focus on the issues and concerns involving Filipinos toiling abroad.
Nograles encouraged ABROAD to push for a version of the measure that is similar to or is “an improvement from the bill being pushed by the Executive”.
“If this is indeed, as you’ve said, geared towards securing the lot of our OFWs, you found a partner in me; magtulungan tayo (let us help each other) for our OFWs,” said Nograles.
The former legislator said placement and recruitment agencies should work with government to review policies regarding returning OFWs and should offer long-term alternatives to OFWs deployed abroad who plan to return to the Philippines.
“Let’s open up more options for our OFWs. We need to revisit the official policy on OFW reintegration because there must be a long-term view of reintegration; it must start right from departure,” said the lawyer.
In its letter and position paper addressed to the President, ABROAD said they “unequivocally and unconditionally echo the call of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who, in his fourth State of the Nation Address, appealed to Congress to pass a law establishing the DOFW to ensure their welfare, protection, and their access to government services.”
The group explained that OFWs would benefit from a DOFW that is responsive to the needs and requirements of Filipinos working abroad and that input from all stakeholders involved in OFW deployment and placement would aid policy-makers and legislators working on legislation establishing the proposed agency.
ABROAD is a coalition of nine different recruitment agency associations: the Australia & New Zealand Association of Employment Providers of the Philippines, Inc. (ANZAEPP), the Association of Philippine Licensed Agencies for Technical Internship Program (APLATIP), the Association of Professional Philippine Manpower Agencies for China Inc. (APPMAC), the Japan Employment Providers of the Philippines & Consultants’ Association, Inc. (JEPPCA), the Overseas Placement Agencies of the Philippines (OPAP), the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI), the Pilipino Licensed Manpower Agencies for Taiwan (PILMAT), the Philippine Recruitment Agencies Association for Saudi Arabia (PRAASA), and the Philippine Association of Agencies Accredited to Oman (PAAAO).
These organizations represent close to 500 Philippine Recruitment Agencies and, collectively, have been responsible for providing overseas employment for over one million OFWs, including professionals, skilled workers, and home service workers. (PNA)
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