New office to aid distressed OFWs

July 15, 2019

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure creating the Office for Social Welfare Attache to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), especially those who are victims of illegal recruitment.

Republic Act no. 11299, released by Malacanang on Monday, amended Republic Act no. 8042 or the “Migrant Workers Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995” to include the new office.

The new law requires the Department of Social Welfare and development (DSWD) to deploy social welfare attaches in countries where there are many OFWs.

The social attache is expected to manage cases of distressed overseas Filipinos, undertake surveys on the situation of OFWs, establish a network of overseas-based social welfare agencies, and monitor the complaints or queries of OFWs and their families.

According to the new law, the new office will prioritize OFWs needing psychosocial services, especially those who are victims of illegal recruitment or trafficking, rape or sexual abuse, maltreatment and other forms of abuse.

The budget for the office will be appropriated under the DSWD while the implementing rules and regulations will be crafted by the same agency, in consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Department of Health, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and other stakeholders.