By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is now working on the crafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act (RA) 11299 or the Social Welfare Attache Act to ensure the welfare of Filipino migrant workers and their families.
DSWD is in consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for the crafting of the IRR.
RA 11299, which amended RA 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995, requires DSWD to send more social welfare attaches to countries with large concentration of Filipino migrant workers to assist them and their children in times of crisis.
DSWD, in coordination with DFA and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), will provide the criteria for determining the selection of diplomatic posts to which the attaches will be deployed.
The law emphasizes the role of the social welfare attaches, which is to manage cases of distressed Filipino migrant workers needing psychological services, and to prepare the social welfare situationer of these workers in their respective posts.
Another salient point of the law is the provision by DSWD of appropriate assistance with inter-agency support to the families of the workers in the Philippines.
The enactment of the Social Welfare Attache Act strengthens the state’s role to protect, serve, and ensure the citizens’ welfare, wherever they may be, it added.
DSWD has advocated for the passage of the law as it recognizes this as a response to the needs of Filipino migrant workers and the realities they face in foreign countries, to include abuses and exploitation.
Presently, DSWD has social welfare attaches in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Hongkong.