Romualdez champions protection and welfare of OFWs in Asean parliamentary forum
In a keynote speech at a Filipino community event in Jakarta, Speaker Martin G. Romualdez reaffirmed his commitment to advocating for the protection and welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) during the upcoming Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA). The forum, scheduled to take place in Indonesia, provides an important platform for regional lawmakers to discuss critical issues affecting their respective countries, and Romualdez aims to raise the concerns of OFWs and their contributions to the Philippines’ economy.
The Speaker’s address highlighted the unwavering dedication of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s administration in ensuring the safety and well-being of OFWs. He acknowledged the sacrifices and substantial contributions of these overseas workers to the nation’s economic growth and development. “Nagpasya po akong dumalo sa AIPA ngayong taon dahil marami tayong kailangang i-discuss sa mga kapwa ko mambabatas mula sa mga bansa sa Asean at BIMP-EAGA,” Romualdez stated, emphasizing the importance of addressing issues concerning OFWs in collaboration with other Asean member countries.
Furthermore, Romualdez underscored the crucial role played by the Filipino community in Indonesia, noting that Filipinos are highly regarded in the country as educators, company executives, business consultants, engineers, accountants, lawyers, and investors. The Speaker pledged to create more opportunities in livelihood and investment, seeking to stimulate overall economic development in the Philippines, including initiatives to attract foreign investments.
In particular, Romualdez mentioned the passage of an amendment to the Public Service Act, which eased restrictions on foreign investments in public services. By opening the economy to multinational companies, the Speaker aimed to provide OFWs with more options to work for these firms in the Philippines while remaining close to their families.
The commitment to serve and represent the interests of Filipinos worldwide was evident in Romualdez’s speech. “We are thinking every day of ways on how to serve you. All our energies are directed at how it (our work) will benefit the Filipino people because we are your representatives,” he stated passionately. As he headed to the 44th General Assembly of AIPA, Romualdez assured the Filipino community that he would carry their aspirations with him.
The speech also highlighted the progress made in protecting OFWs through various laws enacted by the Congress. Notably, Republic Act (RA) No. 11641, which established the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), represents a significant step forward in promoting and strengthening the welfare and protection of Filipinos working abroad. The creation of DMW demonstrates the government’s dedication to addressing the unique challenges faced by OFWs and providing them with appropriate support and assistance.
Earlier legislative measures, such as the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 (RA 10364) and the Anti-Mail Order Spouse Law (RA 10906) enacted in 2016, have also played crucial roles in safeguarding the rights of Filipinos overseas who are vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.
Romualdez’s commitment to championing the protection and welfare of OFWs at the Asean Parliamentary Forum reflects the Philippine government’s ongoing efforts to provide support and care for its overseas workforce. As he engages with fellow lawmakers from across the Asean region, Romualdez endeavors to create lasting partnerships and policies that will improve the lives of Filipinos both at home and abroad. Through these collaborative efforts, the Philippines aims to build a brighter and more secure future for its citizens, whether they are within the country’s borders or working hard to make a living overseas.