EQUALLY important as the creation of Department of Overseas Filipino Workers is a special fund that will help the agency address the problems of the Filipinos working abroad.
Rizal Rep. Fide Nograles, a member of Lakas-CMD urged his colleagues in the to prioritize the creation of a fund for the proposed department specifically for OFWs.
“One of the main issues raised against the establishment of the Department of OFWs is the cost it would entail in creating new offices. Pero bakit natin tinitingnan ang cost? Kung pera ang pagu-usapan, di ba dapat natin i-consider kung magkano ang pinapasok na pera ng mga OFW natin?” Nograles said.
The lawmaker is among the more than 30 representatives who have filed a bill for the establishment of the OFWdepartment.
A technical working group had been created to iron out the various bills’ key provisions.
Nograles cited the personal remittances amounting to 33.8 billion US dollars from 2.3 million Filipinos abroad which accounted for 9.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and 8.1 percent of the gross national income in 2018.
The World Bank’s April 2019 Migration and Development Brief reported that the Philippines was the 4th biggest recipient of migrant worker remittances worldwide, behind only India’s $78.6 billion, China’s $67.4 billion, and Mexico’s $35.7 billion.
“For such a key sector of our economy, dapat no questions asked na tayo pagdating sa kung ano pa ang magagawa natin to ensure the protection of their rights and welfare,” he stressed.
As for funding, the lawmaker said that it is in the remit of the legislative to look for its sources. He said that non-performing or unnecessary programs that continue to be funded could be re-directed to fund the department.
Nograles also eased concerns about the duplication of functions performed by other government agencies. He reiterated that the department would practically be an umbrella agency under which all offices that perform OFW-related functions would be consolidated.