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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

4 Senate Bills that seeks protection and welfare of OFWs

This 2017, three senators are pushing bills in the Senate that will give protection and welfare for OFWs once it will become a law.  These includes “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995.” that aims to expand the coverage of the Legal Assistance Fund and to institute a higher standard of safety and promotion of the welfare of migrant workers and their families by Senator JV Ejercito, “Handbook for OFWs Act of 2016” filed by the People’s Champ, Senator Pacquiao that seeks to mandate the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to publish and disseminate an OFW handbook containing the rights of migrant workers.  The two other bills are the “Financial Literacy for Workers Act” and “Social Welfare Attache Act of 2016” filed by Senator Joel Villanueva.

This 2017, three senators are pushing bills in the Senate that will give protection and welfare for OFWs once it will become a law.

These includes “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995.” that aims to expand the coverage of the Legal Assistance Fund and to institute a higher standard of safety and promotion of the welfare of migrant workers and their families by Senator JV Ejercito, “Handbook for OFWs Act of 2016” filed by the People’s Champ, Senator Pacquiao that seeks to mandate the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to publish and disseminate an OFW handbook containing the rights of migrant workers.

The two other bills are the “Financial Literacy for Workers Act” and “Social Welfare Attache Act of 2016” filed by Senator Joel Villanueva.


(Sen. Joel Villanueva (center) with Sen. JV Ejercito (right) and Sen. Manny Pacquiao during the hearing in OFW bills) CTO Senate


1. The Senate Bill No. 157 that pushes the Legal Assistance Fund for OFWs filed by Senator JV Ejercito.

The bill promotes to institutionalized the Legal Assistance Fund for OFWs and make this available from the time of arrest or charging to the trial proper as well as during appeals.



Once passed into law, it will also cover those OFWs who are brutally abused by their employers, physically and emotionally, those who have been rape and victims of sexual assault, OFWs who never got paid for their services and those who have been wrongly accused of crimes. 

It will also mandate the consular offices and embassies to be sanctuaries of OFWs who needs help.



"If it is true that there are more than 3,000 cases against OFWs, then let's have a plan to resolve them and be prepared to provide legal assistance to the reported 9,000 OFWs in detention. Let's also start saving the lives of around 88 OFWs reported by the Department of Foreign Affairs who are now on death row overseas," he said during the hearing.



2. The Handbook for OFWs Act of 2016 by Senator Manny Pacquiao. This bill wants to mandate the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to publish and disseminate an OFW Handbook containing the rights of migrant workers. 

It says the handbook will serve as a "bible" or constant companion of OFWs, especially for Household Service Workers and shall be written in English, Bisaya and Ilocano translations.



Objective of the handbook

A. To empower every OFW by making them fully aware of their rights and responsibilities.

B. To complement pre-employment briefing and seminars administered by concerned agencies for migrant workers

C. To provide comprehensive information on the labor and living conditions in the country of their destinations.

D. To make the workers well aware of the benefits and drawbacks of working overseas.





3. The Financial Literacy for Workers Act filed by Senator Joel Villanueva. The objective of this bill is to empower the Secretary of Labor to award grants and loans on a competitive basis to eligible entities who can provide financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs to workers.

"Naniniwala po ako na kung marunong mag-negosyo ang ating mga manggagawa at bibigyan sila ng sapat na kapital, aangat ang buhay nila, makakatulong pa sila sa paglikha ng trabaho sa ating mga kababayan" said Villanueva.



4. The Social Welfare Attache Act of 2016, also filed by Senator Joel Villanueva that seeks to OFWs who continue to fall victims to human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and abusive employers by providing them psychological and social welfare assistance. These functions can be carried out by Social Welfare Attaches. 

"Gusto nating maiwasan ang patuloy na pang-aabuso sa mga OFWs sa ibang bansa. Kung gagawing permanente ang mga Social Welfare Attaches sa foreign posts natin, lalo na sa mga lugar na may highest concentration ng mga OFWs, maiiwasan ang mga kasong tulad ng kay Jakatia Pawa o Amy Santiago."


Pawa was sentenced to death in Kuwait last month while Santiago was allegedly beaten to death by her Kuwaiti employer, few days after Pawa's execution.

SEE MORE:

SEN. CAYETANO, SUPPORTS CALL FOR THE ABOLITION OF OEC AND TERMINAL FEE

OWWA, DFA URGED TO PROVIDE THE LIST OF CRIMES COMMITTED BY OFWS IN JAILS ABROAD

SEN. GRACE POE PUSHING FOR "JUNIOR CITIZENS" BILL

SENATOR JOEL VILLANUEVA SUPPORTS CALL TO TEMPORARILY BAN HSW DEPLOYMENT IN KUWAIT

Pres. Duterte approves no-collateral, no-interest loan for farmers, fishermen






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