Six government agencies on Tuesday signed a document outlining their respective roles and responsibilities to deliver services to overseas Filipinos, particularly to those wo are in distress.
Signing the document, formally known as Joint Manual of Operations in Providing Assistance to Migrant Workers and Other Filipinos Overseas, were top officials from the following government agencies:
-- Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
-- Department of Health
-- Department of Labor and Employment
-- Department of Social Welfare and Development,
-- Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and
-- Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
It was the first time government agencies dealing with overseas Filipinos worked together to put into a single document very clear and specific terms the sharing of responsibilities and resources in responding to various concerns of Filipino migrant workers, the DFA said in a statement.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the manual recognized the their heroism, sacrifices, and contributions made by Filipinos working overseas.
"The challenge that lies before us now is to implement this Joint Manual with utmost consistency, efficiency, and professionalism," he said.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz saw the joint manual as a measure to provide "higher caliber of government service and program delivery" to migrant workers everywhere, while Health Secretary Garin vows to include OFWs in the government's plans for universal healthcare.
DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, for her part, said ensuring the psycho-social well-being of Filipinos abroad "is vital to ensure that they are capable of meeting the challenges of working or living in a foreign land."
"We are glad that we are part of this initiative showcasing convergence of government services and resources for the protection of migrant workers and other Filipinos overseas," she said.
The joint manual immediately took effect upon its signing and will be subject to joint review and revision in three years, the DFA said. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News