Bishop welcomes creation of department for OFWs
An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines welcomed President Duterte’s promise to create a separate department focusing on the concerns of overseas Filipino workers.
Balanga bishop Ruperto Santos noted that a department for OFW issues will ensure that the workers’ specific needs and interests will be guarded.
“We support the creation of department for OFWs… Their specific needs will be properly attended to, their basic interests will solely safeguarded and their personal rights and privileges will be promoted and preserved,” he said
Santos, of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, made the remark in reaction to Duterte’s promise to form an agency for OFWs’ concerns.
The President made the announcement during his meeting with the Filipino community in Bahrain’s capital city of Manama last week.
He went there during the Holy Week on a state visit to three countries in the Middle East, specifically in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.
The Department of Labor and Employment currently handles issues related to Filipino workers in other countries.
It may be recalled that before assuming office, Duterte had already vowed to form a separate agency to promote and address the concerns of more than two million OFWs all over the world.
In his meeting with the Filipino community in Bahrain, the President said the department he wants to create will be separate from the DOLE and that there will be a separate agency for sailors.
Santos pointed out that it was “high time and very necessary to give more importance and caring protection” to Filipino workers in other countries.
“We at the CBCP-ECMI appreciate the kind gestures and compassion of our government towards our OFWs,” the prelate said.
He suggested that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration can be placed under the new department for OFW concerns.
Santos said this is to ensure that “common and united efforts for the welfare and wellbeing of our OFWs will be rightly and justly addressed.”
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