A leader of the House of Representatives has assured Filipinos working abroad that the lower chamber is giving top priority to creating a new department to address their concerns.
The creation of the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers was one of the promises of President Rodrigo Duterte in his latest State of the Nation Address.
Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte, who represents the Second District of Camarines Sur, has ensured the cooperation of the House leadership with migrant workers’ groups and other stakeholders involved in the training and overseas placement of Filipino workers pushing for the speedy congressional approval of the proposed department of DOFW.
He said the House leadership was eyeing the bill’s approval before Congress took its first recess this month.
Villafuerte’s commitment came during his recent meeting at the House with leaders of the Alliance of Bonafide Recruiters for OFW’s Advancement and Development (ABROAD), which earlier submitted a position paper to Malacañang and the Congress identifying points of agreements and discussions on fine-tuning the measure.
He welcomed the partnership with lawmakers of the recruiters’ alliance and encouraged them to gather testimonials and cases to buttress the broad and deep support here and abroad for the creation of a new department catering to Filipino migrant workers.
“The creation of this new department for OFWs is a top priority of the House leadership under Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, in support of President Duterte’s agenda for inclusive growth and in recognition by the House of the vital contribution to the domestic economy of the ever-increasing number of OFWs who are our modern-day heroes,” Villafuerte said.
Villafuerte noted that the surge in OFW remittances is responsible in part for the increasing resilience of the Philippine economy in the face of international financial headwinds such as international protectionism, the US-China trade war and the global economic slowdown.
Citing Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data, Villafuerte noted that personal remittances of OFWs soared to $13.7 billion over the January-May 2019 period, or 4.1 percent more than the year-ago figure of $13.2 billion.