The budget for the national assistance fund for overseas Filipino workers should be "expanded" to around P600 million to aid more Filipino workers who are affected by layoffs, domestic charges and other concerns, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said Wednesday.
"We have 80 or so consular and diplomatic posts abroad... But we have a lot of areas where we do not have any representation or consular office because of budgetary concerns," Yasay said during his confirmation hearing at the Senate.
"I am just being confronted with the reality that practically everywhere in the world, there is a Filipino, but we do not have the structure, the mechanism, and the wherewithal to find out where they are and what are their problems because of our limitations," he added.
Department of Foreign Affairs records showed that there are at least 9 million documented and undocumented OFWs around the world.
Yasay said a P480 million budget has been earmarked to fund OFW concerns while another P100 million was allocated for legal assistance services for overseas workers.
He said these funds are not enough especially if the government decides to commit to paying blood money for Filipino workers who have been sentenced to death, usually in Muslim countries.
"There was one payment of blood money that amounted to more than P50 million... If we address all of the needs of all OFWs, P800 million will not be enough," he said.