BALANGA CITY, Bataan: The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines–Episcopal Committee on Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP–ECMI) on Monday lauded the efforts of President Rodrigo Duterte for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the first year of his administration.
“We are grateful and appreciative what he has done for OFWs,” said CBCP–ECMI chair Ruperto Santos who is Bishop of the Diocese of Balanga.
Santos said it was during Duterte’s presidency that “tanimbala” (bullet-planting) incidents, prevalent in the country’s airports, has stopped.
“It was also during the first year of President Duterte that stealing of items and undue opening of balikbayan boxes ceased,” Santos noted.
Another issue that the prelate was thanking the President for was the suspension of the airport terminal fee of P550 collected from workers leaving the country.
The Manila International Airport has issued Memorandum No. 8, series of 2014, that integrated the International Passenger Service Charge or terminal fees into all airline tickets “to address the congestion in all NAIA terminals with the increasing number of passengers.”
As granted by law, OFWs are exempted from paying terminal fees but the fee was included in their airline tickets although refundable. Santos said it was a burden to the workers and thankful when it was terminated on April 30, 2017.
The prelate is also commending the President on the plan to create a cabinet position or a Department of OFW that will look after specific needs of Filipino workers in foreign countries. “It should now be implemented,” the bishop said.
Santos, however, asked Duterte to focus on the creation of jobs in the Philippines “so we will not be just a labor sending country.”
The bishop also commended Duterte’s firm stand against corruption and drug addiction.
ERNIE B. ESCONDE