ADDTIONAL funds have been set by the Senate to boost programs and services for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during the deliberations on the proposed national budget for 2019.
Spearheading the proposal for more funds for OFWs is Senator Sonny Angara who said that aside from more funds, the government must ensure faster and more accessible services for millions of OFWs who are transacting their papers for work.
“The Senate will increase the budget of the Labor Department to improve its One-Stop Service Centers for OFWs to make government frontline services accessible to Filipinos who are currently working and planning to work abroad,” said Angara, vice chairman of Senate Finance Committee tasked to sponsor the budget of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE).
Angara said an additional P5 million will be allocated to ensure that the one-stop service centers for OFWs all over the country will be fully equipped and operational. To date, there are 18 one-stop centers for OFWs nationwide.
He said that augmenting the budget for frontline services for OFWs would further speed up the process for Filipinos to secure government-issued documents required for work abroad.
Launched in 2016, the one-stop shop aims to make it easier for OFWs to get government services. It seeks to reduce their transportation expenses and shorten the processing time of their documents.
In 2017, such centers served more than 1.4 million OFWs. The centers consolidate the services of at least 14 government agencies, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Maritime Industry Authority.