Press Release
February 15, 2021

Villanueva: Sheer number of OFWs, remittance figures justify creation of DOFil

Senator Joel Villanueva today pushed for the creation of a Department of Overseas Filipino (DOFil) - a new line agency - citing their "immeasurable contribution" to the country's pride and the nation's economy, especially in these times of pandemic.

"One in 10 Filipinos live overseas. Kung nasa isang bansa po ang lahat ng ating mga kababayang overseas Filipino, ito ang magiging ninety-first (91st) most populated sa buong mundo. Mas malaki pa kaysa sa population ng Sweden, Austria, UAE, Israel, o Switzerland ang bilang ng mga Pilipino sa ibayong dagat," Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development hearing the DOFil bills, said in his opening remarks.

"Noong 2019, umabot po ng P1.56 trillion ang kabuuang cash remittances ng mga overseas Filipinos. Ito yung pinadaan sa bangko at remittance centers. Mas malaki pa ang halaga kung kasama ang perang personal na inuwi o 'ipinakisuyo' kay kabayang umuwi sa Pilipinas," the senator further explained.

These facts alone, Villlanueva said, are enough justifications to create a whole department mandated to only look after OFWs worldwide, and consolidate the mandates of smaller government offices under the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

And because overseas Filipinos are prospering worldwide, the senator noted, the country also prospered, "lifting many out of poverty."

"At present, 12 percent of the national income is the monetized sweat of the overseas Filipinos. Their generous remittances buoy our economy up, keeping it afloat in times of economic headwinds," Villanueva stated.

"Kung bibilangin po natin ang pasok ng salapi mula sa mga OFW na parang metro ng taxi, ito po ay P4.276 billion a day, P178.17 million an hour, and almost P3 million bawat minuto."

Aside from the huge economic boost coming from remittances, OFWs are also a "source of great pride" for the Philippines. And as such, Villanueva said, their contributions need to be met by equally efficient and timely government services.

"Today, there are Filipinos in every time zone, every continent, and every sea. The sun never sets on the Filipino Diaspora. We are virtually the world's human resource provider, from bedside care to artificial intelligence," he noted.

"As we speak, Filipinos are digging oil from the frozen tundras to the blazing hot sands of Sahara Hospitals everywhere also benefit from "Made in the Philippines" talents Pati po ang mga klasrum sa Amerika, Thailand, Japan at Mongolia, napasok na rin ng mga gurong Pilipino," the senator cites.

The former TESDA chief that it is for these reasons the government should be putting more focus on the welfare of OFWs, and this can be realized through the establishment of a DOFil.

The bill has been certified as urgent by the administration, and Villanueva expressed confidence that the measure will see enactment.

"Gawin po natin ito para sa isang maganda at mapagpalang araw o gabi para sa mga bagong bayani ng ating bayan - sila po ang mga Pilipino sa ibayong-dagat na patuloy sa pagkayod at pagsusumikap para matamo ang kanilang mga pangarap: pangarap para sa kanilang sarili, pamilya at para sa ating minamahal na bayang Pilipinas."

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