Tuesday, April 18, 2017

DOLE exec says separate department for OFWs unnecessary

Labor Undersecretary Dominador Say on Tuesday said that a separate department focused on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) is unnecessary, as opposed to the proposed plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to establish one.
"Ang Department of Labor [and Employment] ang aming pananaw ay mas gugustuhin pa namin na nasa Pilipinas ang ating mga manggagawa because the more and longer they are there—nasa labas, outside out of the country—the more they are exposed to abuses, et cetera," said Say, also the Officer-in-Charge of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), in an interview with Winnie Monsod on Unang Balita.
"From that point of view ni Sec. Bello, he is speaking as a Secretary of the Department of Labor. Kasi kung magtatayo nga tayo ng Department of OFW, in one sense we are recognizing that we need to send OFWs," he added.
During his trip to the Middle East last week, Duterte spoke before OFWs and revealed his plan to create a Department of Overseas Filipino Workers in order to cater to the needs and concerns of OFWs. 
“The creation of a department does not belong to me. It belongs to Congress. We have proposed a separate body... from the Labor [Department], ise-separate ‘yung OFW. So nakatutok ‘yan,” Duterte said.  
At a separate press conference hours before Duterte spoke at the Khalifa Stadium in Bahrain, however, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that establishing an OFW department would be redundant and would counter the administration's bid to create more local jobs for OFWs in the country.
Say, on his part, said that he cannot speak in behalf of Bello.
"I cannot answer for Secretary Bello dahil nasa top level discussion siya, because there are some quarters nga who are espousing the creation of a Department of OFW. Secretary Bello is speaking on his behalf, in his own behalf as a secretary of the Department of Labor," he said.
Moreover, Say also mentioned that the proposed plan of Duterte to build a hospital in the Middle East to cater to OFWs was not discussed with DOLE.
"Personally, narinig ko 'yan for the first time from President Duterte himself. The Department of Labor, hindi namin pinag-usapan 'yan and besides I don't think it should be a topic of the Department of Labor. It should be the DOH (Department of Health)," he said.
It was upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from the Middle East on Monday that Duterte revealed his plan to build a hospital for OFWs
10,000 OFWs to go home
Meanwhile, Say said they are expecting over 10,000 OFWs to come home in the following months.
"It is going, as this week marami pa ring umuuwi. Kahapon ang nangyari, it was only the biggest bulks kasi even before that marami na ring nakakauwi," he said.
"We intend to continue this effort hanggang matapos ang 90 days na binigay ng Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we are hoping na siguro mga 10,000 ang ma-iuuwi natin," he added.
Over 100 OFWs from Saudi Arabia arrived home with Duterte on Monday morning. The OFWs — 63 women, 55 men and 20 children — were given P5,000 from the Office of the President and another P5,000 from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
The OFWs were repatriated following the amnesty granted by the Saudi Arabia government to overstaying and illegal foreigners there. —Marlly Rome Bondoc/KG, GMA News

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