Duterte OKs law creating social welfare attaché for OFWs
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law creating the social welfare attaché for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Duterte signed Republic Act 11299, amending Republic Act no. 8042 or the “Migrant Workers Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.”
The law, signed on April 17, was only released to the media on Monday.
Under the new law, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is mandated to deploy social welfare attachés “in countries with large concentration” of OFWs.
The law stated that the social welfare attaché would “manage cases of OFWs and other overseas Filipinos in distress needing psychosocial services.”
The attaché would also “undertake surveys and prepare official social welfare situationers on the OFWs in the area of assignment.”
It also mandated the attaché to “establish a network with overseas-based social welfare agencies and/pr individuals and groups which may be mobilized to assist in the provision of appropriate social services.”
The attaché, the new law added, should “respond to and monitor the resolution of problems and complaints or queries of OFWs and their families.”
The law also ordered the attaché to “establish and maintain a databank and documentation of OFWs and their families so that appropriate social welfare services can be more effectively provided.”
The DSWD is mandated to include in the agency’s programs the implementation of the new law, while the funding should be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, principal author of the bill, thank the President for the signing of the law.
“We thank the President for enacting this bill which stands to benefit OFWs, whose contribution to our economy entails personal sacrifice. Umaasa po tayo na sa bisa ng batas na ito, regular na pong magkakaroon ng mga social welfare attache sa ating mga tanggapan sa ibang bansa,” Villanueva said in a statement.
“Now that the SWA has been institutionalized, we are confident that the psycho-social needs of our OFWs will be addressed better,” he added.
Citing data from the Department of Labor and Employment, the senator said there are four million OFWs worldwide.
He said “the government set aside P90 million in the 2019 national budget for the SWA office.”
Villanueva said seven SWAs are in Saudi Arabia (Riyadh and Jeddah), United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Qatar, Kuwait, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.
He added that five posts are expected to be opened this 2019 in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Jordan, Lebanon, Italy, and South Korea. /je
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