Hire more social welfare attaches for OFWs – Recto
MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Thursday underscored the need for the immediate hiring of additional social welfare attaches (SWAs) to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Recto made the call after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Republic Act 11299 creating the Office of the Social Welfare Attaché (SWA) in diplomatic posts where there is a large concentration of OFWs.
Recto said there are only seven SWAs attending to 4.365 million OFWs — which means there is one SWA for every 623,561 OFWs.
This, Recto said, is the “smallest employee-to-clientele ratio in public service today” as he called for SWAs to be considered as “priority hires.”
“If 5 more will be deployed this year, the SWA-to-OFW ratio will increase to about 1 to 364,000. Imagine having 1 doctor or dentist for this number of people,” Recto said in a statement.
“Kulang talaga. Halimbawa, sa Saudi Arabia, per reports, dalawa lang ang social welfare attaches, for an OFW population of about 1 million,” the senator added.
Recto asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which is tasked to oversee SWAs, to include a request for the hiring of additional SWAs in its proposed 2020 budget.
The senator said that the deployment of SWAs would be one way of recognizing the OFWs’ economic contributions.
Recto noted that the P90 million budget for the deployment of SWAs is insufficient “if taken against the backdrop of attended cases and the amount of money OFWs are remitting home.”
“Last year, P1.5 trillion ang remittances nilang lahat. Ano ba naman ang suklian natin ‘yan ng dagdag serbisyo tulad ng ipagkakaloob ng mga social welfare attaches? “ Recto said, noting that a support staff must also be included in next year’s appropriations to help SWAs effectively carry out their mandate.
Recto also asked the DSWD “to widen the recruitment for Social Welfare Attaches to include OFWs living in the countries where they will be deployed for as long as they meet the criteria for hiring and pass the qualifying exams.”
“Instead of parachuting someone from Manila to an alien territory, why not get someone who has long been on the ground, speaks the language, knows the culture, is familiar with the terrain to be navigated, and who is or was an OFW himself ?” /gsg
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