A great challenge

October 11, 2019

VARIOUS quarters concede that stopping the nefarious activities of sweet-talking illegal job recruiters and human traffickers, local and foreign, remains as one of the greatest challenges of the government.

Every year, scores of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), many of them women, return home dead, sick, battered or penniless. Others, like drug mules, are languishing in foreign detention cells.

Admittedly, many of these problematic OFWs are victims of illegal recruiters, human smugglers and cruel foreign employers.

As one of the world’s major sources of dependable manpower, including nurses, domestic helpers and seafarers, the Philippines is under pressure to ensure the welfare of its migrant workers.

Thus, we cannot overemphasize the need to hasten the passage of a bill which calls for the setting up of a new department that would cater to the concerns of the country’s still growing army of OFWs.

The principal authors of the bill said the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has been eyeing its passage on third and final reading this December.

House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and his wife, Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez, cited the technical working group (TWG), chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, for working very hard to thresh out all concerns on the matter.

Martin and Yedda Romualdez, principal authors of House Bill No. 3274, said the absence of a single agency has made it difficult for the state to address the needs and demands of the overseas employment program.

The Romualdez couple reminded their colleagues that the measure is one of President Duterte’s priority bills, knowing full well that the manpower export industry is a major pillar of the Philippines economy.

The billions of dollar remittances of the millions of Filipino migrant workers help prop up the local economy.