Taguig 2nd District Rep. Lani Cayetano on Wednesday said the enactment of Republic Act No. 11641 or the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Act will help address the needs and concerns of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) more effectively as they will no longer have to share the resources and attention from other departments.
“Sa kasalukuyan, ang sitwasyon natin, iba’t ibang departamento o ahensya ng gobyerno, may kanya-kanyang programa para sa ating mga migrant worker at OFW. Tuloy, kapag may mga problema, ang gulo-gulo, hindi mo alam sino ba talaga ang answerable, sino ba talaga ang liable, ano ba talaga ang solusyon, saan ba talagang departamento lalapit ang ating migrant workers,” Rep. Cayetano said in a media interview on January 12, 2022.
(At present, our situation is this: there are many departments and agencies of government and each has its own programs for the migrant workers and the OFWs. So when a problem arises, the process becomes chaotic because we do not know who is answerable, who is liable, what the solution is, or which department should take the lead.)
“Sa pamamagitan ng sariling Department of Migrant Workers ay magkakaroon ng dedicated department para sa mga OFW concerns at hindi na tayo makikihati sa resources at atensyon sa iba’t ibang mga ahensya. Na-consolidate na siya sa iisang programa,” she added.
(By having our own Department of Migrant Workers, we will have a dedicated department for the concerns of the OFWs, and we will no longer have to share the resources and attention of the different agencies. All of these have been consolidated into one program.)
Rep. Cayetano said the establishment of the DMW will also increase the focus on services for OFWs and eventually lead to the creation of “experts” on OFW welfare.
“Y’ung accountability at mga point persons, magiging malinaw na rin para sa ating lahat at hindi na magpapaikot-ikot y’ung ating mga kababayan – magkakaroon na ng mga one-stop shop para sa mga pangangailangan ng ating mga OFW,” she added.
(The accountability and point persons will also be clearer, and the OFWs will no longer have to travel from one place to another to process their papers because there will be one-stop shops for their needs.)
She also said the creation of the DMW will improve the Philippines’ economic relationships with other countries, especially the receiving countries where migrant workers live.
“Malaking benepisyo ito sa mga OFW natin, sa kanilang pamilya, at sa mga Pilipino in general,” she said.
(This is a huge benefit for our OFWs, their families, and Filipinos in general.)
Rep. Cayetano said her husband, former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, had been advocating for the creation of the DMW since his Senate days. She said the former Speaker grew closer to OFWs and was able to form a deeper understanding of their current state during his term as Foreign Affairs Secretary from 2017 to 2018.
“Senador pa si Alan, hinain niya na itong panukalang ito, hanggang sa naging DFA Secretary siya [at] lalo niyang naintindihan na kailangan magkaroon ng departamentong katulad nito, hanggang sa naging Speaker of the House siya, talagang naging principal author tayo nito sa Kongreso,” she said.
(Alan was still a Senator when he first filed this bill, and then he became a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary and was able to understand the need to create a department like this, and then he became a Speaker of the House where we principally authored this bill in Congress.)