The newly-created Department of Migrant Workers will have a separate office that will handle requests for the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers, DMW Secretary Susan Ople said Sunday.
Ople said she already discussed the central office for OFW repatriation with Overseas Workers Welfare Administration administrator Hans Leo Cadac.
“We agreed that only one office within the department will accept the requests for repatriation,” Ople said.
“We will release this week the numbers that can be contacted or how they can get in touch with the One Repatriation Command Center through Facebook,” she added.
Ople also assured OFWs that the DMW will have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal recruiters and human traffickers.
To achieve this, she will lead the DMW-Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment and Trafficking in Persons (TF-AIRTIP).
“In fact, last Friday, some people approached us saying that his son was a victim of human trafficking in Cambodia. So, those are the cases that the task force will discuss,” she said.
Ople said she sought assistance from Justice Secretary Boying Remulla to develop mechanisms on how to get the task force up and running.
At present, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking is led by the Department of Justice.
Ople said she was instructed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to enhance the database on OFWs to see what services could be provided to them.
“President Marcos would like to have programs for OFWs returning home who want to find work, retool, reskill, or want to be an investor. We will link them to government programs that suit them,” she said.
“President Marcos wants to focus on caring not only for OFWs but also for their families, especially those children whose parents or one of the parents is an OFW,” she added.
Meanwhile, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who will chair the labor committee, vowed to continue protecting the rights and welfare of OFWs.
“The fight continues because millions of OFWs also continue to fight for basic rights, benefits, and humane treatment abroad,” he said.
“The plight of the Filipino labor — whether here or abroad, will always be my advocacy,” Estrada said.