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Bong Go: DOFil creation aligned with gov’t streamlining

Bong Go
Bong Go

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go reiterated the need to establish a Department of Overseas Filipinos (DOFil), saying that the creation of said department will contribute to the initiative of rightsizing the bureaucracy.

President Rodrigo Duterte has announced numerous times that this is one of the priority measures of the administration. A version of the measure has already been passed in the House of Representatives early this year. However, deliberations on the proposed measure have not made much progress in the Senate as some senators cited the desire to prioritize ‘Rightsizing the National Government’ before creating new departments.

Go emphasized, however, that the creation of the DOFil, in fact, serves the purpose of rightsizing the government.

“Kapag sinabing rightsizing, ibig sabihin gawing tama at mas epektibo ang mga ahensya ng gobyerno para maging mas responsive sa pangangailangan ng mga tao. Ito ang gusto ring maisakatuparan ng bill na ito,” he said.

Go further explained that the proposal “will not bloat the bureaucracy, but would rather streamline the functions, improve coordination, and make it more responsive to the needs of Filipinos it wishes to serve.”

“Sa tagal po natin sa public service, hindi naman po lingid sa ating kaalaman na kapag po ang ating mga ahensya ay hiwa-hiwalay at may kanya-kanyang mandato, ang nahihirapan po ay ang mga Pilipino,” he shared.

“Kadalasan, hindi nila alam kung saan sila pupunta. Pinagpasa-pasahan sila. Huwag naman po sana ganito ang ating gobyerno. Suklian natin ang kanilang sakripisyo ng maayos at maaasahang serbisyo,” he added.

Go highlighted that creating the DOFil will not build a whole new office from scratch, but will simply merge or put together into one executive department all key offices dealing with matters related to overseas Filipinos.

“Hindi po layunin ng DOFil na mas palakihin pa ang gobyerno. Inilalagay lang natin sa iisang departamento ang mga opisina na nangangasiwa sa pangangailangan ng overseas Filipinos para mabawasan ang red tape, mapabilis ang koordinasyon, at magkaroon ng klarong timon kung sino ang dapat na accountable,” explained Go.

The senator added that DOFil will also avoid overlapping functions and consolidates budgetary allocations in a single government entity, providing better and more efficient services to Filipino migrants and overseas workers.

“Ang sa akin ay pag-isahin natin sa isang departamento na nakatutok sa kapakanan ng ating kababayan na nasa abroad. ‘Yun po ang importante sa akin, na mayroon silang malalapitan, mag-aasikaso, makikipag-liaise kaagad para sa kapakanan ng ating mga OFWs,” he continued.

Go stressed also that the budget appropriated to agencies will be utilized for this new department and will no longer incur additional burden to the country’s financial struggles caused by the pandemic — rather it will unburden the bureaucracy and streamline functions, so it can respond better and maximize further the resources needed.

“Katulad ngayong pandemya, maraming umuwi na mga OFWs natin, kasama na dyan mga seafarers natin. Minsan nga mayroong inaapi sa ibang bansa, nananawagan sa radyo, Facebook, sa telebisyon. Ngayon po, kung mayroon tayong department secretary na nakatutok sa kanila, ang akin naman, hindi kalat-kalat ang response. May iisang magtitimon,” explained Go.

The Senator emphasized that around ten million of the population are considered overseas Filipinos. While the government does its best to create equal or even better opportunities for these Filipinos to return home, it is still the responsibility of the state to take care of its citizens wherever they are in the world.

“Sila po ‘yung bagong bayani natin, more than ten million po ‘yan, nagpapakamatay sila sa ibang bansa. Alam niyo, hindi po nababayaran ang lungkot — hindi magtatrabaho sa ibang bansa ‘yan kung parehas lang po ang suweldo rito. Kaya po bigyan natin sila ng departamentong para sa kanila po na magtitimon, nagpapagitna,” he lamented.

Go further urged his colleagues to prioritize the measure and continue the committee deliberations to see how the chamber can reach a viable solution.

“Marami namang concerns ngayon na dapat nating asikasuhin and this should not take a back seat. While we are financially constrained, this should not stop us from doing our job and looking for better ways to improve our government,” he said previously.

Go appealed to fellow legislators to take into account the situation of overseas Filipinos and their appeals to make government mechanisms more responsive to their needs.

“Sana po ay alalahanin natin na sila ang pinaka-nangangailangan dito. Pakinggan po natin sila at intindihin natin kung saan sila nanggagaling. At the end of the day, para naman po ito sa kanila, sa kabutihan po nila, ang ating isunusulong nating batas,” said Go.

He emphasized that the bill must be prioritized by the chamber given the urgency of the matter it seeks to address and the fact that this is one of the priority measures of the Duterte Administration.

“Sana po ay bigyan natin ng importansya ang ating mga OFWs at iba pang overseas Filipinos. Mahirap po mapalayo sa pamilya, hindi po nababayaran ang lungkot. Bigyan natin sila ng importansya. Sana po ay maisakatuparan na itong Department of Overseas Filipinos,” Go said.

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