SINCE taking his oath of office at 12 noon on June 30, 2016, President Rodrigo R. Duterte has been promising a new era for the country’s overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
In fact, observers now see moves indicating the crafting and implementation of more and more pro-OFW pieces of legislation before long.
And last week’s Middle East (ME) tour of Duterte showed his determination to protect the rights and promote the welfare of the more than one million OFWs in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.
The seven-day ME sojourn of the Chief Executive from Davao City in troubled Mindanao also strengthened political and economic cooperation with the three oil-rich nations.
Records show that there are about 760,000 OFWs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), 60,000 in Bahrain and 250,000 in Qatar, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
During the weeklong trip, President Duterte met with Kings Salman Bid Abdulaziz Al Saud, Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa and Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani of KSA, Bahrain and Qatar, respectively.
Duterte’s visit to the oil-rich region has been seen as the latest in a series of pro-OFW moves by the Duterte administration, which ends on June 30, 2022, over the past months.
Whatever his critics say, there is a rising sentiment that President Duterte is doing a great job in uplifting the living conditions of the Filipino people, particularly the workers.
Pro-administration observers said the crusading Duterte administration is doing something more effective regarding poverty, homelessness, unemployment and underemployment.
If generating more local jobs is not possible at this time, then the government is on the right track in ensuring the welfare and safety of our growing army of migrant Filipino workers.