President Duterte will certify as urgent the bill creating a Department of Overseas Filipino Workers (DOFW).

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Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the President renewed his call for the passage of the said measure, noting that it was one of his campaign promises during the 2016 polls.

According to Roque, with Duterte highlighting the importance of the said department, the President will certify its creation as urgent.

“Well, sa lalong mabilis na panahon po, gusto ni Presidenteng mabuo iyang departamento na iyan (The President wants this department to be created as soon as possible),” he said.

“Sigurado naman po ako na dahil dito, ise-certify as urgent iyan nang mas mapabilis po ang pagpasa niyan bilang isang batas (I’m sure that because of his statement, he will certify the bill as urgent so it will be easily passed in Congress),” he added.

The House of Representatives passed on third and final reading in March House Bill 5832, the ”Department of Filipinos Overseas Act.” Similar bills are pending in the Senate.

The measure states that the main duty of the department is to protect the rights and welfare of OFWs by regulating overseas deployment and pursuing illegal recruitment and human trafficking cases and help prosecute offenders.

The agency will take over the functions of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and all Philippine Overseas Labor Offices, among others. It will also supervise the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration as its attached agency. Employees from that office will be absorbed by the new department.

According to Roque, the government will be able to settle the mandates of the new department despite its attention focused on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re very confident. We pioneered in the sending of manpower as a strategy for economic development noong panahon pa ng Martial Law. So, napakatindi na po ng ating kakayahan at ekspiryensiya pagdating dito (even during the time of martial law. So we have vast experience and capabilities to do this),’ he said.

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