Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City
July 12, 2019

“Let me also take this opportunity to thank you all kababayans abroad for your unwavering support for my administration and for your invaluable contributions to nation building,” said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte when he met hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during the Global Police Community Relations’ (PCR) hosting of the ‘Araw ng Pasasalamat’ for OFWs at the new Lapu-Lapu Grandstand in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

“May your innate resilience, fortitude and commitment continue to encourage our countrymen to also work hard for their dreams so that they may provide a happy and comfortable life for their loved ones,” the President continued in his keynote speech, as he assured all OFWs present that the government is doing its utmost best to uphold the rights and protect the welfare of the overseas Filipinos.

He said that the administration is committed to create a department dedicated solely for the OFWs, and among its proposed provisions include an establishment of a hospital and deployment of police attaché in their respective places of employment and residence abroad that shall connect them directly to Philippine-based law enforcement.

“Kung may mangyari sa inyo — alam mo, ibang [bayan?] tayo. Be extra careful… Wala na lang akong magawa talaga, ‘yung mag-uwi dito kabaong na na ano… Napakasakit. It’s, it’s very hurting to ponder and even to sleep on it, you know,” President Duterte expressed, as he also acknowledged the Global PCR in its efforts of securing the safety of the Filipinos abroad.

Created by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Global PCR serves as a ‘hotline’ for the OFWs in reporting crimes and seeking assistance directly from the PNP.

Relatively, with the creation of the said Department of OFW, the President also aims to put an end to illegal recruitment agencies and to ensure strict government supervision on OFW recruitment.

“Kaya apurahin ko ‘yang Department of OFW. Bawal na ang recruitment sa abroad… At ‘yan regulated and 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,” he added.

The Chief Executive also commended Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III for initiating measures that promote the welfare of the OFWs, such as the issuance of OFW ID Cards, creation of the OFW bank, and the enactment of the Handbook for OFWs Act of 2018.

“…I look forward with optimism — malakas ang loob ko that we collectively strive to build a more secure, equitable, progressive future for all Filipinos,” President Duterte ended.

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