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Overseas Filipino Workers’ Welfare a Government Priority
The government is committed to the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), wherever they may be, ensuring that their rights and privileges are promoted. Philippine embassies and consulates abroad come to their aid, under the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. At airports nationwide, a special center, manned by government personnel, has been set up to attend to their needs on their arrival and departure. December is specially dedicated as “Month of Overseas Filipino Workers.”
The global demand for Filipino workers must be balanced with the need to protect them through verified job contracts, carefully screened foreign employers, and licensed recruitment agencies. Filipinos applying for jobs abroad are advised to verify first with government entities the status of recruiters.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration is the government agency that monitors and promotes the employment of Filipino workers abroad, while the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration delivers a wide range of health care, disability and death benefits, scholarships and financial assistance for education and training of OFWs.
Despite the risks, OFWs leave the country to seek better opportunities to provide for the basic needs of their families. Jobs abroad that are available for Filipinos are nurses, caregivers, teachers, engineers, construction workers, seafarers, domestic helpers, entertainers, and hotel workers. The top destinations for OFWs are Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Japan, Kuwait, Qatar, Singapore, Italy, and the United Kingdom, Lebanon, Bahrain, Brunei, South Korea, Malaysia, Ireland, Israel, the Commonwealth of Norther Mariana islands, Libya, and China. They usually come home during the holidays or as permitted in their contracts in order to visit their loved ones, as Filipinos are known to be tightly knit.
The money that they send helps prop up the national economy. The Philippines is the fourth largest recipient of foreign remittances, alongside India, China, and Mexico. Thus, Overseas Filipino Workers, referred to as “Bagong Bayani (Modern-day Heroes),” not only help their families to have better lives; but they also contribute to national economic development.