DOLE proposes own version of Department of OFWs
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has come up with its own version of a measure that seeks to create a new department to cater to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday said the DOLE supports the creation of a Department of OFWs as President Rodrigo Duterte stamped it as a priority during his 2019 State of the Nation Address (Sona).
“As the lead agency of labor matters, the DOLE drafted its own version relative to the creation of the Department of OFWs,” Bello said during the House joint committee hearing tackling bills on the creation of the Department of OFWs.
“The two-fold objectives of this is to show support to the President’s call and to ensure the continued protection and promotion of the welfare and rights of migrant workers and overseas workers,” he added.
Among the salient features of the DOLE’s version, Bello said, is that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) shall be attached agencies of the proposed new department.
Other proposed attached agencies also include the following: the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB), the Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO), social welfare attache under the Department of Social Welfare and Development, offices of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), migrant foreign affairs and legal assistance of migrant workers affairs offices under the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Bello said one-stop shops and “Malasakit centers” shall also be established in the regional, provincial and municipal level.
The DOLE also advocates for the retention of “juridical personalities” of the POEA, OWWA, and the NRCO, the labor chief added.
This is to “provide seamless transaction and smooth continuation of their services, and more importantly, to effectively carry out the mandate and functions of the department,” he explained.
“In view of the foregoing, we fully support the creation of the Department of OFWs,” Bello said.
A total of 31 bills has been filed at the House of Representatives that are seeking for the creation of the Department of OFWs./ac
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