Press Release
April 8, 2013

"Unemployment has Forced OFWs to Leave Home"

Senator Alan Cayetano has brought his Listening Tour outside the country to address the concerns of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). On Sunday, he had lunch with 200 Filipino domestic helpers at Statue Square - their weekly gathering place - to personally listen to their problems especially those regarding employment and income.

"The biggest thing that I realized while listening to our OFWs here in Hong Kong is that if they had opportunities for employment in the Philippines, they would opt to stay home instead of leaving their families just to be able to feed them," Cayetano said. "Unemployment has forced our OFWs to leave home."

Cayetano urged the Aquino administration to focus on job generation so that Filipinos would not have to risk their lives under less than ideal circumstances abroad just to earn a living. "Now that our economy is doing well, it's time to focus on job generation. Filipinos who work abroad should be there by choice and not by desperation," he said.

Cayetano also attended the Miting de Avance held by OFW party list Migrante later in the afternoon at the same venue. In a skit performed during the event, he noted that OFWs feel neglected because their issues remain unaddressed. "Their skit vented out their frustration that politicians only remember them during election season. I want to reassure them that our concern for them is sincere. We cannot neglect the sector that keeps our economy afloat in spite of various regional and world economic crises," he said.

Cayetano also visited the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong on Monday to personally discuss the plight of domestic workers with concerned officials. Here, he pushed the government to find ways to streamline processes and decrease fees for OFWs. "While unemployment rates remain high, we should at least find ways to decrease costs for OFWs," he declared.

"We need to consolidate and streamline the processes involved in applying for and addressing concerns of OFWs that are currently being handled by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) so that our OFWs are benefited and not burdened by government," Cayetano said.

To show his genuine desire to fight for the rights of OFWs, Cayetano also paid a surprise visit to the POEA last Friday, April 5, to accompany random OFW applicants to personally witness and experience the processes that they go through just to get permits for work abroad.

News Latest News Feed