Despite accusations that some labor officials abused and harassed a number of distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) considers 2013 a good year to build a legacy.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said that their reforms, which include the Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention and the Maritime Convention 2006, were ratified this year.
“It was a year of the institutionalization of the reforms we started in 2010. So it was a good year of work, [especially]when you see [that]these reforms last beyond the administration,” Baldoz said.
Besides securing bilateral agreements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Germany, Canada and Papua New Guinea to protect thousands of OFWs and provide more overseas jobs for Filipinos, the DOLE also pushed the Single Entry Approach (SENA) and Kasambahay Laws.
The agency, in partnership with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA) has also repatriated displaced OFWs who were victims of political crisis and violence in Egypt.
The POEA also banned the deployment of OFWs to Yemen following the bomb attack that killed seven medical workers and injured several OFWs.
The agency suspended acting Jordan attaché Mario Antonio for 15 days for allegedly using foul words in his conversations with distressed OFWs and for watching pornographic materials in his office-issued computer.
Antonio was among the officials allegedly involved in the sex-for-flight scheme. Riyadh labor attaché Adam Musa and assistant labor attaché Antonio Villafuerte were also implicated in the alleged abuse of OFWs.