End to labor migration, help desks for Overseas Filipino workers and their kin proposed

OVERSEAS Filipino workers (OFW), who are considered as modern-day heroes, deserve help from the government, two lawmakers said.

Reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara, who is a senatorial candidate of both Hugpong ng Pagbabago and PDP Lanan, said the government should step up efforts to create more and better local jobs to end forced migration and to allow OFWs to return in the Philippines.

For his part, ACTS-OFW party-list Rep. John Bertiz III is proposing an assistance or help desks in all barangays nationwide to address the demands and expectations of the OFWs and their families.

“Importante na protektahan natin ang ating OFWs  at higit sa lahat, sa pangmatagalan, dapat natin silang ibalik sa bansa. Kaya dapat ang trabaho dito po sa sarili nating bansa. Hindi na po dapat naghihiwalay ang ating mga pamilya,” Angara said.

He underscored the need for government to make available decent jobs to returning OFWs, as well as to new college graduates, including beneficiaries of the Free College Education Law that has made state universities and colleges tuition-free.

According to Angara, OFWs are forced to face dire straits and uncertain conditions abroad to escape crushing poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunities at home.

There are an estimated 10 million Filipinos who live and work overseas, taking jobs ranging from domestic work in the Middle East and Hong Kong to nurses in Europe and Canada.

In 2017, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that 2.34 million Filipinos went to work abroad. Of this figure, 20.7 percent or roughly 484,000 are from Region 4-A or Calabarzon.

Meanwhile, Angara said the government had never been more capable of protecting the welfare and well-being of OFWs and their families than now, thanks to a three-year-old law that institutionalized and strengthened the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).