Creation of OFW department being discussed in Senate

The Senate is welcoming the idea of setting up a department that would focus on the affairs of OFWs.

A new bill was filed in the Senate to create the Department of Foreign Employment (DOFE), a single department dedicated to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano filed Senate Bill No. 1435, which seeks the establishment of such agency which will serve as a means of addressing all issues and grievances of OFWs, including the promotion of their full and just employment and the mitigation of social costs back home.

The bill also proposes the creation of a PHP1 billion OFW Distress and Assistance Fund to provide financial support for OFWs in distress including repatriation and provisions for life-saving funds in times of great emergency and training and livelihood loans for returning OFWs.

DOFE—which will be headed by a person with a rank of Cabinet Secretary— once created, will be the primary policy, programming, coordinating, and administrative entity of the executive branch, providing assistance to OFWs in the field of overseas labor and employment.

Meanwhile, Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development chairperson Senator Cynthia Villar has expressed her support to prioritize the creation of the department for OFWs, the Department of Migration and Development.

Last June 2016, Villar filed Senate Bill No. 146 or the "Department of Migration and Development Act of 2016," which seeks to create a department that will recommend and implement the government's policies, plans and programs for the promotion of protection, safety, development, support, of and for Filipinos overseas and their families left behind.

Photo courtesy of Sen. Cynthia Villar