500 recruitment firms back creation of DOFW
A group representing at least 500 recruitment agencies on Monday (Aug. 12) backed the bill filed by Sen. Bong Go creating a Department of Overseas Filipino Workers (DOFW) which would be focused on the welfare and protection of at least 2 million Filipinos working in foreign countries.
In a statement, the Alliance of Bonafide Recruiters for OFW Advancement (Abroad), which is composed of recruitment agency groups, said the group agreed with President Duterte that there was a need for a DOFW as the President mentioned in his State of the Nation Address on July 22.
Mary Cecile Francisco, co-convenor of Abroad, said the group welcome “all efforts of the government to improve and streamline the services and processes involved in the deployment of OFWs.”
Francisco said the group is appealing to Congress to pass a law creating the DOFW “that will be truly fair and responsive to the needs of our modern-day heroes.”
“Many of our countrymen continue to seek employment abroad in order to help their families,” said Francisco.
She said discussions leading to the creation of the new department would allow all stakeholders—workers, placement agencies, lawmakers, nongovernment organizations, civil society groups and government officials—an opportunity to “sit down and find ways to better protect the interest of OFWs.”
Francisco said recruitment agencies have “assumed the role as shock troops or the first line of defense” in protecting OFW rights and welfare. Abroad, she added, “will play an active role in highlighting the industry’s contribution” to OFW employment, migration and economic growth.
She said Abroad is a coalition of at least eight recruitment agency associations—Australia & New Zealand Association of Employment Providers of the Philippines, Inc., Association of Philippine Licensed Agencies for Technical Internship Program, Association of Professional Philippine Manpower Agencies for China Inc., Japan Employment Providers of the Philippines & Consultants’ Association, Inc., Organization of Placement Agencies of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc., Pilipino Licensed Manpower Agencies for Taiwan, Philippine Recruitment Agencies Association for Saudi Arabia and other country-specific agencies that are in the process of joining the coalition.
The groups represent more than 500 recruitment agencies and, collectively, had provided jobs to more than 1 million OFWs—professionals, skilled workers and household service workers.
More agencies, said Francisco, were joining Abroad in the coming days. “We want to be as inclusive as possible,” said Francisco.
The government relies on resources of licensed recruitment agencies as partners in addressing unemployment as provided for by the Labor Code.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority place the number of OFWs at 2.3 million as of September 2018. In 2018, OFWs remitted a total of $32 billion to the Philippines, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Duterte had said he wanted a DOFW by the end of 2019 and, in a sign that showed the urgency which the President wants Congress to give the measure, Duterte’s most trusted ally, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go is leading the way in crafting legislation to create the new department. Marlon Ramos/TSB
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