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How advocates plan to help OFWs

MANILA – Advocates seeking to represent overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the House of Representatives laid out their plans on how to help OFWs stranded overseas.

Speaking on ANC’s “Beyond Politics,” Atty. Apolonio Mayuga, third nominee for AMEPA OFW, said a mandatory insurance coverage for OFWs can help them in times of need.

“Mandatory insurance coverage for OFW na sasagot sa kanilang repatriation, ‘yung pabalik nila. Kung may sakit, medical repatriation, at saka kung meron silang claims na habol sa kanilang employer, kung illegal ang pagka-terminate sa kanila, meron tayong money claims insurance coverage na ngayon ay nangyayari na,” he said, adding that the insurance should also cover those who have renewed their contracts.

Roy Señeres Jr., first nominee of OFW Family Club, on the other hand, said he will push for the passage of House Bill 2190, or the Surrogate Parents of OFWs and Migrant Filipinos Act, which will require ambassadors and other diplomatic officials to acts as surrogate parents of OFWs, visiting them in hospitals, jails and other places to ensure that they receive proper assistance.

“In so doing, we will send a strong signal to the foreign ministry that the Republic of the Philippines cares so much for our overseas Filipino workers. Mas mapapabilis ang pagpapauwi niyan ‘pag proactive ang ambassador natin, ‘pag proactive ang ating mga taga-embahada na makipag-usap doon,” he added.

Señeres, likewise, will push for a higher budget for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in order for them to be able to execute their functions properly.

“Sa P3.4, P3.5 trillion budget ng gobyerno, P11 billion lang ang budget ng DFA, at P12 billion lang ang budget ng DOLE. So kung titingnan mo ‘yan sa budget na P3.4 trillion, wala pang one percent ang budget ng Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment and those are the two giant institutions tasked to protect (OFWs). How can you protect stranded OFWs with such a small budget?” he added.

John Bertiz, second nominee of ACTS OFW, will push for the creation of Department of Migrations and Development, to consolidate the functions of different agencies into a single office.

“Ang aming isinusulong ngayon, magkaroon ng isang departamento for development or migrations, Department of Migrations and Development. Sampung milyon nga po ‘yan, sinasabi natin. Enough para magkaroon ng isang bansa. Bakit hindi natin bigyan ng sariling departamento ang ating OFW na sa isang building na lang,” he said.

“So ‘yung budget na ibinibigay niyo sa iba’t ibang departamento na in the end ang talo ay ‘yung isang OFW, pagsamahin natin sa isang departamento,” Beritz added.

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