PH illegals in China on Duterte agenda
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he would urge President Duterte to discuss with Chinese authorities how to legalize undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) when the latter travels to Beijing for a state visit on Oct. 19-21.
“I will ask him to take up with Chinese authorities the issue of OFWs there, particularly the undocumented ones,” Bello said in a recent interview.
He expressed optimism that Mr. Duterte would immediately act on addressing the situation of undocumented OFWs in China.
“The President’s determination to help OFWs is certainly a big factor,” the labor secretary said. “We can really see the focus of our President on OFWs.”
Government records show there are 29,691 Filipinos in China, including 2,560 irregular and undocumented ones.
Bello also reported that more than 100,000 OFWs had been provided assistance by the One-Stop Service Center for OFWs (Osscos) at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration main office.
“We have provided various services in the Osscos to 100,168 OFWs from Aug. 15 to Sept. 30,” he said.
He said the figures did not include similar centers established at Lingap Pinoy Center at Robinson’s Mall in Puerto Princesa City for Mimaropa; and at Clark Polytechnic on Jose Abad Santos Avenue in Clark Freeport Zone for Central Luzon; at the Department of Labor and Employment office in Tacloban City for Eastern Visayas; and at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) office in Cagayan de Oro City for northern Mindanao.
Also set to launch their own Osscos before the year ends are San Fernando, La Union province, for Ilocos region; Cebu for Central Visayas; and Davao for Davao region, where migrant workers are also heavily concentrated.
“These one-stop shops are designed to reduce the expenses of OFWs as well as provide them convenience,” Bello said.
Among the services provided to applicants are passport services, processing of Owwa membership, issuance of professional licenses, payment of PhilHealth contribution and issuance of National Bureau of Investigation clearance.
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