A party-list lawmaker is pushing to strengthen the offices abroad tasked with promoting the rights of Filipino workers – through the creation of a Philippine Overseas Legal Action Center in areas that have a concentration of Filipino workers.
The bill, authored by Party-list Rep. Jocelyn Pua-Tulfo of ACT-CIS, aims “to provide a more secure environment” for Filipino workers abroad.
House Bill 1541 strengthens the powers and functions of the existing Philippine Overseas Labor Office under the Department of Labor.
She said the bill, aside from instituting a more efficient system to bring legal service to those in need, would provide additional support by providing mental health and medical diagnostics to distressed Filipino workers.
Pua-Tulfo, vice chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, said POLAC shall be distinct from the present POLO, whose main function is to provide legal assistance to ensure the enforcement of government policies and regulations that govern Filipino workers abroad.
Pua-Tulfo added the proposed POLAC shall be given prosecutory powers against those who violate the rights of Filipino workers and will be allowed to collect “costs of suit” from offending parties.
“As such, there shall be minimal costs shouldered by the aggrieved party and by the government as a whole in the course of protecting of its citizens,” she added.
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