We think it is timely and strategically sound for the Philippine government to establish an OFW command center that will integrate national efforts to address the needs of our economically vital and growing community of overseas Filipino workers. There are compelling reasons, both positive and negative, that make such a center a creditable and meritorious undertaking of the government.
On the positive side, the proposed center will manifest government assistance for the welfare and well being of OFW communities in a sustained, dependable and effective manner. Second, the center will coordinate or help integrate private and public efforts to intervene on behalf of OFWs who are in distress or who run afoul of the law. Third, the center will show foreign governments and communities that the people and government of the Philippines stand full-square behind our overseas Filipino workers and their communities.
A command center will be established jointly by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to improve the government’s responses to OFW needs abroad.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Petery Cayetano on Friday said they will also increase the frequencies of their meeting with DOLE and its attached agencies, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
“You will feel the reforms soon, and in fact, I will personally talk to our ambassadors in Europe and Middle East, magkakaroon kami ng forum, question and answer,” Cayetano said at the press briefing after the launch of the new passports with 10-year validity.
These reforms include the use of the legal assistance fund to hire lawyers to represent OFWs whose employees had them incarcerated.
Philippine embassies around the world were also tasked to keep their records of Philippine nationals updated for better response in case of emergencies.
Cayetano added that they are working on foreign relations and human resource with various government agencies to make way for improved employment opportunities in the Philippines and reduce the number of Filipinos forced to seek employment abroad