ORGANIZED groups in the overseas placement industry have joined hands in pushing the immediate passage by Congress of a law creating a separate department for Filipino overseas workers.
In a joint position paper submitted to the House committees on government reorganization, the Coalition of Licensed Agencies for Domestic and Service Workers (CLADS) and the Overseas Placement Association of the Philippines (OPAP) underscored the urgent need for a new office that will solely look after the welfare of OFWs and regulate the overseas placement industry.
CLADS and OPAP are the two largest country-specific organizations of licensed recruitment agencies in the Philippines composed of more than around 800 agencies with deployment in 22 countries and concentration in the Middle East, Europe, Americas and Asia.
The groups said they are committed to share their experience and expertise, adding they intend to actively participate in consolidating pending bills in Congress all seeking to establish a department for OFWs.
The House will start next week public hearings on the proposed measures. The House panel on government reorganization, chaired by Batangas Rep. Mario Vittorio Marinio, counts among its members Reps. Jose Padiernos, Jose Ong Jr., Dan Fernandez, Ron Salo, Joey Salceda, Mark Faustino Dy, Alberto Pacquiao, Enrico Pineda, Roy Seneres Jr., and Minority leader Bienvenido Abante.
Citing the paramount importance of protecting OFWs, the groups said they have long recognized the role of OFWs in pushing the nation forward.
They stressed that responsible migration is essential in ensuring the welfare of OFWs.
CLADS and OPAP also proposed the crafting of a Code of Ethical Conduct for OFWS that equally treats their rights and responsibilities for their ultimate protection. They are recommending the development of educational programs on migration to be offered at the grassroots to empower would-be OFWs.
“Never before has the importance of a government department solely overseeing the concerns and welfare of our OFWs been deemed primordial than now,” the groups said in their position paper.
They added: “We believe in the sincere heart of President Duterte for our overseas workers. We can do no less, and join the President to help protect them and better their lives and that of their families.”
“And the right time for a department exclusively for our OFWs is now,” they said, adding that the new office will also be able to more effectively streamline and regulate the overseas placement industry.
“With fresh mandate, we are hopeful that the new office can eliminate illegal recruitment and human trafficking,” the groups said.