MANILA, Philippines — The Senate has approved the bill creating a new government agency dedicated to protecting and addressing needs of OFWs.
On December 14, 20 senators unanimously voted to pass on the final reading of Senate Bill No. 2234, or establishment of the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act.
President Rodrigo Duterte has always urged the congress to create a bill for a new OFW department. He marked the bill as urgent last March, thus waiving the three-day mandatory interval between the second and third reading for approval.
Senator Joel Villanueva, the bill’s proprietor, said that this new department will serve as the agency solely for OFWs’ concerns. This covers matters on recruitment, regulation, emergency response, and reintegration. He also ensured that the law will also oversee cases filed against illegal recruiters.
Functions of similar agencies under other government departments will be merged under the new department. This includes the likes of the International Labor Affairs Bureau of DOLE, National Reintegration Center of OWWA, and Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs under DFA.