Senator Sonny Angara has pushed for the need for additional funding to boost programs and services aimed at providing overseas Filipino workers with faster and more accessible government services.
“The Senate will increase the budget of the Labor Department to improve its One-Stop Service Centers for OFWs to make government frontline services accessible to Filipinos who are currently working and planning to work abroad,” said Angara, vice chairman of Senate finance committee tasked to sponsor the budget of the Department of Labor and Employment.
Angara said an extra P5 million will be earmarked for 18 one-stop service centers nationwide to make them fully equipped and operational.
He said that augmenting the budget for frontline services for OFWs would further speed up the process for Filipinos looking to secure government-issued documents required for work abroad.
Launched in 2016, the one-stop shop aims to make it easier for OFWs to avail of government services. It seeks to reduce their transportation expenses and shorten the processing time of their documents.
In 2017, such centers served more than 1.4-million OFWs. The centers consolidate the services of at least 14 government agencies, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Maritime Industry Authority.
The Senate will likewise allocate additional P100 million for the emergency repatriation program of DOLE, Angara said.
Angara, however, stressed that the government should ensure that decent jobs and livelihood opportunities are awaiting them here.