Bello looks at creating a commission as an alternative to a Department of OFW

Published July 16, 2019, 8:26 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Jan Carlo Anolin

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he might be considering the creation of a commission, instead of separate department, solely focused on the interest and protection of the overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in a press briefing for the Philippine media delegation at the Orchard Hotel in Singapore on April 27, 2018, announces that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is set to reveal a course of action on the issue concerning the migrant workers in Kuwait. (ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III (ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./ PRESIDENTIAL FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Maybe hindi naman kailangan [na department] pero sabi ko nga, kung ano ang sabi ng Presidente [ay] susunod tayo,” the labor chief said in an interview over radio DZMM Tuesday.

(Maybe a department is not necessary but then again, whatever the President says, we will follow.)

Bello said he gathered the senior labor officials to draft the proposed Department of OFW which will function as one entity for the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, National Reintegration Center for OFWs, and International Labor Affairs Bureau.

“Pero baka we’ll look for a new formulation na instead of a department, baka pwedeng commission na solely dedicated to the protection of our overseas workers,” Bello added.

(But we will look for a new formulation that instead of a department, maybe it is possible to create a commission dedicated solely to the protection of our overseas workers.)

Last week, President Duterte said he wants the Department of OFW to be established by December so that the government can oversee the recruitment process.

Aside from that, he is also thinking of creating an office for OFW and for seafarers by August.

Bello also revealed the labor department’s future plans such as the establishment of hospitals for OFWs and their dependents.

There would be one hospital in each island group – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Bello specified Pampanga for Luzon and Regions VI or VII for Visayas.

 
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