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Go eyes ‘teeth’ to proposed OFW department bill

by Saul Pa-a 
October 26, 2019

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (File photo)




SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday said the proposed creation of a separate department for overseas Filipino workers would be given more "teeth" to protect both documented and undocumented Filipino migrant workers from illegal recruiters.

“Bigyan natin ng ngipin dapat itong departamentong lalapitan lalong lalo na po sa pagsugpo sa panloloko ng mga illegal recruiters (let us give teeth to the department they can approach especially in eradicating deceit by these illegal recruiters),” Go said in a press conference here following his visit to fire victims in Barangay San Antonio.

Go filed Senate Bill No. 202 — the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019 that would address all issues and concerns of Filipinos abroad.

He said the bill, which is now under the Senate's Technical Working Group, is expected to be passed before yearend.

Go said many Filipinos continue to fall prey to illegal recruiters who impose excessive fees with the promise of a job abroad.

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He cited as example the recent experience of some 147 reported undocumented OFWs who turned out to be victims of illegal recruiters after they were asked to pay at least PHP70,000 each as fees.

“Kawawang-kawawa sila. Sila po 'yung nahihirapang umuwi dahil undocumented. Kaya dapat talaga may departamentong nakatutok sa kanila (They are pitiful. They experience difficulties in returning home because they are undocumented. So, there should be a department to look after them),” Go said.

Once approved into law, the proposed DOFW would protect and promote the rights of all Filipinos living and working overseas, ensuring their safety, health, and freedom from abuses, as well as their development and general well-being.

“These OFW victims are distressed and left to fend for themselves abroad and again it’s the government that comes to the rescue. Hindi na kailangan silang ipapasa-pasa sa OWWA, POEA, at sa embahada. Isang departmento po natutok sa kanila (they don’t have to be passed around to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Embassy. It is the department that would attend to them),” he said. (PNA)

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