CBCP welcomes proposed department for migrant workers
MANILA, Philippines — The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) welcomed on Saturday the creation of a separate department that will handle the affairs of Filipino migrant workers, a move which it said would be most beneficial to the country’s modern-day heroes.
Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to set up within the year a department of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) would help ensure the welfare and well-being of migrant workers.
Operational by December
“It could be a one-stop-shop where our OFWs will never be asked to go/travel from one place to another to see different persons from different offices. So it will be less tiring for our OFWs, [who will be] personally taken care [of] and individually protected [from] illegal activities and fixers,” said Santos, who heads the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People.
On Friday, the President said he would rush the creation of a department dedicated solely for OFWS so this could be operational by December.
His former aide, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, filed earlier this week Senate Bill No. 202, which aims to set up the agency that will better protect migrant workers from illegal recruiters, among others.
Santos said that since all affairs concerning OFWs are envisioned to be consolidated into one agency, the days of “finger pointing” when migrant workers were put at a disadvantage would soon be over.
“With the OFW department, we know who is personally responsible for them. Anyone amiss of their duties will specifically be known and be prosecuted,” the prelate said.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, both attached agencies of the Department of Labor and Employment, currently handle the processing and deployment OFWs.
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