The House of Representatives seeks a comprehensive plan, more programs for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to help them cope with the problems brought about by the COVID-19 crisis.
More Programs for OFWs
The House of Representatives through Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to call for an inter-agency meeting that would integrate each agency’s respective programs. The goal is to provide better response to issues and concerns affecting OFWs abroad as well as the ones who are returning to the country.
Aside from the DOLE and DFA, Cayetano said that other OFW-related agencies, such as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), should also be part of this plan.
These agencies need to determine the missing elements or the weakest links in the system so they can function better and provide more programs for affected OFWs.
According to Cayetano, the agencies should also determine which ones are supposed to handle certain aspects of the OFWs’ needs. He pointed out that many OFWs have a hard time dealing with these agencies because they are directed from one agency to another for funding, training, documentation, and even their educational needs.
Cayetano told the DOLE, DFA, other OFW-related agencies to submit their funding requirements, determining the ones that may be funded either under the 2021 National Budget or the Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan II).
“It requires full coordination and adoption of a whole-of-government approach. We need to work together to survive the crisis and execute a united response to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cayetano said.
For the proposed inter-agency meeting, he also recommends that the that the committee chair on overseas workers affairs and the House committee chair on labor should be included.
For the plans to better work for OFWs, the inter-agency committee would also need the help of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and even financial institutions.
“I do believe government has many programs but the OFWs and their families do not know how to access them. And even if they can access them, the red tape that still exists causes delays and pain and hurt. And sometimes, we gain the reputation that we act only if media begin to notice,” Cayetano added.
What is Red Tape?
Red tape is the excessive bureaucracy or adherence to rules and formalities, especially in public business. This often leads to a delay in providing much-needed government services to the people.