PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the OFW Handbook bill.
The new law, known as the Handbook for OFWs Act of 2018, is Republic Act No. 11227.
Duterte signed the bill into law on February 22 but Malacañang only released a copy of it on Saturday.
Under the new law, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is mandated to develop, publish, disseminate and update a handbook which will contain the rights and responsibilities of overseas Filipino workers.
The handbook will be given to every OFW for free whether land-based or sea-based.
It will be in English with translations in local languages.
The publication of the handbook is aimed at empowering OFWs by making them aware of their rights and responsibilities, and giving them basic information on the labor and living conditions of the country of their destination, among others.
Under the law, the Department of Labor and Employment, POEA, and the Department of Foreign Affairs were tasked to promote the welfare and protect the rights of OFWs.
The DoLE was mandated to “see to it that labor and social welfare laws in the foreign countries are fairly applied to migrant workers and whenever applicable, to other overseas Filipinos including the grant of legal assistance and the referral to proper medical centers or hospitals.”
The POEA on the other hand, was tasked not only to publish and disseminate the handbook but update it as well, and inform OFWs of their rights as workers and human beings.
The agency was also tasked to implement an intensified program against illegal recruitment activities, in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies.
The new law consolidates Senate Bill No. 192 and House Bill No. 8110.