Marcos Jr. says OFW families also a priority of gov’t
MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. pledged on Friday to extend various forms of government assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families.
During a gift-giving ceremony at Malacañang Palace, Marcos honored migrant workers as modern-day heroes.
“Ngayon, higit kailanman ay napakahalaga ng papel na ginagampanan ninyo na maiahon ang ating ekonomiya at maiangat ang antas ng pamumuhay ng inyong pamilya at kapwa Pilipino,” he said.
(Now more than ever, the role you play in recovering the economy and improving the standard of living of your families and fellow Filipinos is vital.)
Marcos credited OFWs for setting a good image of the country across the globe, noting that Filipinos are known as one of the most skilled, hardworking and caring people in the world.
“Talaga naman maipagmamalaki natin na tunay [at] walang katumbas ang inyong husay, lakas, galing, sipag, kabaitan at sakripisyo. Kayo ang patunay na kayang magtagumpay ng Pilipino saan mang dako ng mundo mapunta,” he said.
(We are proud of your faithful and unrivaled skills, strength, abilities, hard work, and sacrifices. You are a testament that Filipinos can succeed anywhere in the world.)
Prioritizing OFW families
Marcos noted a change in government policy regarding OFWs’ interests and well-being over the past year. Their families are now a priority too.
“Ngayon ay hindi lamang natin tinitingnan ang mismong mga OFW, ang mismong mga nagtatrabaho abroad, kung hindi pati na ang inyong mga pamilya,” he said.
(Now, we’re not just looking after the OFWs, those who are working abroad, but we’re also looking after their families.)
Marcos then added: “Kasama na siguro diyan ay pinag-uusapan po natin ay iyong pabahay, iyong mga scholarship program, iyong mga iba’t ibang serbisyo at benepisyo na maibibigay natin dahil alam naman namin na kayo’y nagsasakripisyo at napakalaking bagay ng bunga ng inyong sakripisyo. Hindi lamang para sa inyong mga pamilya, hindi lamang para sa inyong mga komunidad, kung hindi para sa buong Pilipinas.”
(Included are the housing and scholarship programs, as well as the other granted services and benefits because we recognize your sacrifices and the fruits of these sacrifices – not just for your families but also for the entire Philippines.
Marcos said that OFWs’ families remain on top of their concerns as they render services abroad.
“Kaya’t siguro karapat-dapat lamang na ang Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), ay hindi lamang migrant workers ang inaalala at inaalagaan, kung hindi ang mga pamilya ng migrant workers,” he said.
(That’s why it’s just fitting that the DMW prioritizes and cares for not just migrant workers but also their families.)
“Siguro, ‘yan na ang pinakamalaking pagbabago sa ating DMW na hindi lamang ang mismong OFW…pati na ang inyong mga pamilya ay titingnan natin ang kanilang kalagayan at kung ano man ang kanilang pangangailangan at sa lahat ng aming kakayahan ay ibibigay natin ang tulong para sa inyong mga pamilya.”
(That, I think, is the most significant shift in the DMW. We’re looking at the living conditions and needs of OFWs and their families. And to the best of our ability, we want to extend help to OFW families.)
DMW in full force
From July through November this year, DMW chief Susan “Toots” Ople said the newly constituted department helped at least 766,290 Filipinos get jobs abroad.
She said that 6,341 distressed OFWs were repatriated.
READ: Gov’t brings home 7,000 troubled overseas Pinoys
Ople further noted that as of November 2022, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, an attached agency of the DMW, accommodated 16,000 children of OFWs through its scholarship program.
“Next year, the DMW will be in full hiring mode because we need to fill up around 1,000 positions,” she said in her speech.
Ople said the department would soon open 16 regional offices and four additional migrant workers offices.
READ: DMW to fine-tune role as go-to agency for OFWs
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.