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More Protection For OFWs Urged
The listing of 32 more countries that are deemed as safe destinations for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) should compel the Aquino government to lay out more programs aimed at ensuring protection of Filipinos working abroad, Sen. Loren Legarda said Wednesday.
“The job of our government does not end with certifying countries as safe havens for our OFWs,” said Legarda, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
“The more countries our government certifies as OFW-safe destinations, the better it be prepared to address contingencies that may face our OFWs,” she said.
Legarda is referring to the resolution approved by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) governing board that added 32 countries, including conflict-stricken Syria, to the list of countries that meet Philippine standards on the protection of OFWs.
To date, the POEA has certified a total of 184 countries found to be compliant with the guarantees on the protection of the rights of foreign workers provided under Section 2 of Republic Act 10022, the Amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act.
But Legarda said the OFW-friendly tag being associated with these certified countries should not lull the government into complacency.
“These countries may have progressive migrant-labor policies, but at the end of the day, the responsibility of our government is not diminished by the presence of favorable policies in the host country,” the senator said.
She also pointed out the numerous situations in which the government has to exhaust all available resources to evacuate OFWs based in Middle East countries that experienced civil unrest.
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