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.
“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.