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Jul 22 19, 6:09 pm

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Duterte ensures the welfare and protection of overseas workers

by | News

Jul. 22, 19 | 6:09 pm

To ensure the welfare and protection of overseas workers, President Rodrigo Duterte emphasized the creation of the Department of Overseas Workers (OFWs) to sufficiently address the needs of Filipinos working abroad.

“The… signing of the bilateral labor agreement with Kuwait in 2018 is a testament of my commitment to stop abuses infected on our overseas Filipinos to ensure their welfare protection and their access to government’s services,” Duterte said during his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Batasang Pambansa, Monday.

This expression was based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) about the protection of Filipino workers, which was signed in May 2018 by the Philippines and Kuwait.

Earlier this month, the president was looking forward to creating at the soonest possible time the new department that will address the needs of workers abroad. He was also looking to place the recruitment of OFWs under the direct and exclusive control of the government to supervise and monitor agencies especially on their unjust recruitment practices and the abuse of migrants.

The president promised to finish the framework for the creation of the OFW department by the second week of August.

He also shared during his speech the corruption that emanates from different government agencies.

“I have identified the enemy who dumped as into quagmire. I have met the enemy face to face and sadly the enemy is with us. We are our own tormentors,” he said.

The Department of OFWs

“Buong Pilipinas ‘to bawal na ‘yang recruitment diyan sa labas,” Duterte during the Araw ng Pasasalamat for OFWs in Camp Aguinaldo.

“I have the power to do that because that kind of mechanism of recruiting Filipino workers abroad has been abused and abused and abused at ang mga kababayan ko puro biktima, puro kawawa,” the President added.

Senator Go cited one of the first senate bills he filed which was SB 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019.

This legislative measure proposes the establishment of a Department of Overseas Filipinos that will serve as an umbrella agency to address the issues and concerns of overseas workers including their families. The said measure also aims to protect them, promote their full and just employment, mitigate the social costs back home and serve as a channel to address OFW issues and grievances.

The MOU which was first signed in May 2018 was divided into six articles, which contains the responsibilities of each country, ensuring the Filipino workers are given the basic human and labor rights and that will serve as a protection in the Gulf State.

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary and now new Speaker of the House of Representatives Alan Peter Cayetano and Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah signed the Agreement on the Employment of Domestic Workers on behalf of their respective countries. Also, present during the signing was Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

This year’s SONA

President Duterte praised different government agencies like PAGCOR and BOC that earned in 2018 beyond the target. He also cited some government agencies that still need improvement and development like SSS, LTO, LRA, and pA.

Duterte also applauded the efforts made by his administration especially about the improvements of Boracay, but he wanted not to acknowledge him anymore.

“No need to advertise my work in Boracay, I am paid for what I am doing,” he emphasized during his speech.

About the West Philippine Sea, President Duterte explained that the avoidance of armed conflict and protection of waters compels the Philippines to perform a delicate balancing act.

“We will make a stand on due time,” he said.

“I told China I want to dig oil in our territory but the Chinese president said there is conflict,” he further explained.

“I told Chinese president Xi if we can talk about the West PH Sea some other time,” he added.

He said whether we (the Philippines) do it in a diplomatic way, there would be confrontation since there are guided missiles in the West The Philippine Sea.

“There is a time for everything,” Duterte said.

Comparative SONAs

Asked about the status of President Duterte’s SONA so far, Dr. Patrick Campos de Leon, Governance and Public fiscal administration expert from the University of the Philippines compared Duterte’s SONA’s so far over previous administrations.

“Arroyo’s SONAs had economic figures, infrastructure projects (e.g. Roll On-Roll Off/RO-RO), and a bit of drama (e.g. bangkang papel). While Noynoy Aquino was in Filipino, who also presented economic figures like sovereign credit, upgrades, stock market index. He also included social development programs like 4Ps. Noy’s SONAs, however, were vengeful, always had reference to the misdeeds of GMA,” he said.

“Duterte’s SONAs were theatrical, comical. He had no patience with the script. Movie directors directed his SONAs. Duterte did not report much on the true state of the nation. He presented his plans, his advocacy,” said Dr. De Leon.

“On the whole, they were not reports on the economy or social development agenda, but rather on the Duterte’s personal advocacy including the war on drugs,” he said.

“What is the true state of my nation? Its economy is resilient; the GDP has been growing at around 6% per year for about 9 years. Many of the much-needed physical capital/infrastructure projects are being fast-tracked. Laws to spur business and entrepreneurship have been enacted. The government’s direction seems moving towards the welfare state – free tuition in SUCs, expansive PhilHealth coverage, etc. However, the once vibrant democracy is now lost,” Dr. de Leon added.

This year’s SONA

President Duterte arrived in the Batasan around 5 pm and General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) welcomed him towards the session hall.

Attended by senators, congressmen, and guests from different sectors, the hall was also filled by cabinet members and diplomatic corps.

Past presidents Fidel V. Ramos, Erap Estrada, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also attended this year’s SONA. Vice President Leni Robredo was also present which the President also acknowledged during his introduction. However, former President Noynoy Aquino did not attend for the fourth time.

Broadway singer Arman Ferrer sang the “Lupang Hinirang” before the start of Duterte’s 4th SONA. He also sang the national anthem when the House of Representatives opened its session in the morning.

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It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 2.5 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

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