Department for OFWs sought by lawmaker

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A lawmaker has filed a measure in the House of Representatives seeking to create a Department of Migration and Development (DMD) to ensure a unified, fast and coherent approach in extending government services to Filipinos overseas and their families here at home.

The House bill authored by ACTS-OFW party-list Rep. Aniceto “John” Bertiz 3rd serves as the counterpart measure of a Senate bill filed recently by Sen. Cynthia Villar that also proposes the creation of a separate department for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Bertiz, a former OFW himself, filed House Bill (HB) 192 in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to create a full-pledged department that would streamline and simplify the bureaucratic requirements for Filipino workers aspiring to work or already working abroad.

The measure also seeks to strengthen the reintegration program for OFWs.


“This bill seeks to build on the President’s campaign promise to our OFWs for a separate department, and fulfill it, guided solely by the need to establish accountability and transparency, promote speedy, effective and more convenient services and boost development through more cohesive reintegration programs and family-oriented services,” Bertiz said in a statement on Monday.

He noted that an aspiring OFW needs to go through at least seven agencies from the time he files his application to the actual day of his departure, securing different kinds of documents every step of the way.

Because several agencies are involved, Bertiz explained, OFWs need to go to several offices even prior to deployment, thus hiking the costs before he or she even earns abroad.

On one hand, families already distraught because of the loss of a loved one overseas have to hurdle the difficult and confusing process in getting the remains of OFWs home.

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