President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his call to Congress for the swift passage of the bill creating the Department of Overseas Filipinos.
In a taped public address Tuesday, Duterte urged Congress to fast-track the approval of a measure establishing the department for OFWs.
“I’d like to hurry up Congress in this. One of my proposals during the campaign period was the creation of overseas Filipinos. Its different from the Department of Labor and Employment, it takes care of the internal, the workers here and abroad,” he said .
“So, I proposed in the coming months and I hope to come up with a department for overseas workers,” he added.
The creation of this department aims to streamline the recruitment processes of migrant workers, among others.
The proposed law tasks the department to formulate, plan, coordinate, promote, administer, implement policies, and undertake systematic national development programs for managing and monitoring the overseas or foreign employment of Filipino workers.
The President said he was eyeing the creation of another agency for seafarers, saying “I will also create another agency and that is the maritime… the seafarers.”
“I told them, my treatment of their case is different because of the so many international laws involved,” the President said.
The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the bill known as the Department of Filipinos Overseas Act last March. The Senate has yet to pass its version of the bill seeking the creation of a department for OFWs.
In the same speech, he asked Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to help a Filipino who is reportedly stranded in Vietnam.
“I’d like to ask Secretary Bello, if he’s listening, to look into the matter. He has been there for two years,” the President said.
“That is unconscionable. I cannot accept that kind of mistake by the government. We should bring him home. No Filipino should be left stranded like a person with no nationality,” he added.