The untimely and tragic death of three Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait and Singapore should prompt Congress to prioritize the approval of proposals creating a separate department for overseas employment, Senator Manny Pacquaio said.

Pacquaio, who is the primary author of Republic Act 11227 or “The Handbook for Overseas Filipino Workers of 2018,” lamented that many OFWs make a lot of sacrifices while working abroad and many of them are constantly at risk because of the nature of their job.

It is for this reason that he also authored and filed Senate Bill 997 which seeks to create the Department of Overseas Employment so that the government can give more focus in serving our OFWs.

“It is really time that we should have a separate department whose sole focus is to look after the welfare of our OFWs.”

” It’s already too hard that they are working away from their families and loved ones and still, some of our kababayans end up sacrificing their lives. Some are so unlucky that they get abusive employers. I think that it is really time that we should have a separate department whose sole focus is to look after the welfare of our OFWs,” the legislator said.

The lawmaker said that for their sacrifice, he has committed to give P100,000 each to the families of the three OFWs and would also provide scholarship assistance to their orphaned children.

The senator said that although the death of two OFWs in Singapore was due to an accident, it should serve as a reminder of the dangers faced by Filipinos working abroad.

According to reports, the victims Abigail Danao Leste and Arlyn Nucos were just hanging out with some Filipinos outside the Lucky Plaza mall in Singapore when they were hit by a wayward car. At least four other Filipinos who were at the scene were also injured in the accident.

Before the turn of the year, another Filipina domestic worker identified as Jeanelyn Villavende was alleged killed by the wife of her employer in Kuwait prompting the government to impose another temporary employment ban for OFWs to that country.

According to Pacquiao, although the circumstances surrounding the tragic deaths of the Filipina OFWs in Singapore and in Kuwait were completely different, both incidents would entail a long and winding administrative and legal processes that requires full government attention.

“These incidents will happen as long as we continue deploying OFWs and most often, the families of the victims will just accept what happened as fate. Namatayan na nga sila pro-problemahin pa nila kung paano nila makukuha yung bangkay ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay tapos iisipin pa nila kung paano nila mahahabol yung mga lumapastangan sa kanilang mga kaanak kaya madalas napapabayaan na lang ang kanilang mga kaso,” he noted.

“OFWs have been the lifeblood of our economy.”

“We should change this situation by making sure that our OFWs get the best government service that they truly deserve. After all, they have been the lifeblood of our economy,” Pacquiao added.

He said the immediate passage pending proposals to create a separate department for overseas employees would allow the government to give more focus in dealing with the various challenges faced by Filipino OFWs.

“A full government department for our OFWs would mean more manpower to provide assistance for our distressed OFWs and more resource to go around in supporting our kababayan even after they have already decided to come home for good. We need to give our OFWs the full attention that they truly deserve. Dapat special sila,” Pacquiao concluded.


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