President Rodrigo Duterte announced during a speech at the Araw ng Pasasalamat for OFWs at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City his intent to create a separate department solely for the benefit of our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). As it stands, OFW affairs are overlooked by a number of individual offices such as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs.
He began his declarations with: “Apurahin ko ‘yang Department of OFW. [I will rush the creation of the Department of OFW.]” He explained the need for this by saying:
Bawal na ‘yang recruitment diyan sa labas [outside recruitment will no longer be allowed]… that kind of mechanism of recruiting Filipino workers abroad has been abused and abused and abused. Mga kababayan ko puro biktima, puro kawawa [my countrymen are all poor victims, they are all unfortunate.]
Further criticisms of outside recruitment were made, with President Duterte insisting all recruitment agencies would then be under the government. For him, “government supervision and control because what has happened and has been happening is not acceptable to the Filipinos now.”
There were even promises of special hospitals and police attachés for OFWs:
So you will have a Department of OFW para sa inyo lang [just for you]. ‘Yung hospital pati lagyan ko ng police attaché sa lahat ng binanggit ninyo na lugar. [There will also be hospitals and even police attachés in all concerned places.]
The police attaché will connect you dito sa Pilipinas kung ano ang problema [here in the Philippines to address whatever the problem may be]. And they will be trained to help you in legal matters of how to do it in the meantime that you are not here to solve the problem.
December was the deadline he gave himself for the complete creation and set up of the department, with a framework supposedly in place by August.
Are you in favor of creating a Department of OFW? Let us know why or why not in the comments!