The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) chief on Monday said she is open to the idea of putting up the Department of Overseas Workers (DOW) that will solely cater to the needs of all the Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) worldwide.
“For us, for as long as it will benefit the OFWs, who are our main client and beneficiaries, there is no problem. If these reforms result to better service for OFWs, we are okay with it,” Administrator Carmelita Dimzon said.
She said they will yield to the findings of the lawmakers even if the outcome is the abolition of OWWA and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
“Kung ikakaganda ng sistema ang pag-abolish, why not di ba? Pinag-aaralan ng TWG [Technical Working Group] yung resolution na yun. Basta kung makakabilis, makakaayos ng proseso, why not?” the labor official commented.
“But for the moment, we do not want to comment further because may TWG study naman to look into pros and cons of the proposal,” she furthered.
Under House Bill 191, Pangasinan Rep. Rosemarie Arenas is pushing for the creation of separate cabinet-level department to facilitate the deployment and repatriation of OFWs, among others.
Meanwhile, POEA Administrator Hans Cacdac expressed reservations on the proposal.
He related that during a previous National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council meet last year, they agreed that a separate department may not be the solution but an additional budget is necessary to assist more OFWs.
“What’s needed is to give more attention to strengthening the coordination as well as providing additional budget for agencies helping OFWs,” the POEA official related in Filipino.
The OWWA is a government labor agency that provides welfare assistance to registered overseas workers and their dependents and they ensure the viability of the Overseas Workers Welfare Fund while POEA regulates private sector participation in the recruitment and overseas placement of workers by setting up a licensing and registration system.