Press Release
May 24, 2021

Villanueva musters support for DOFIL bill as labor committee chair looks at sponsoring measure this week

The bill creating the Department of Overseas Filipinos is set to be sponsored within the next session days this week as Senator Joel Villanueva mustered support from lawmakers on Monday morning regarding the consolidated measure.

Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, said the committee report would only need to "undergo some more finetuning" before it is brought to the Senate floor for debates this week.

Villanueva on Monday convened members of the committees on labor, foreign relations, finance, and civil service in executive session, where they reached consensus on the proposed committee report. Villanueva described the meeting as a "productive discussion centering on proposed good and innovative features."

"Instead of introducing these on the floor, the decision was to make them part of the committee report to expedite the process. We expect to sponsor the measure in the plenary within this week," Villanueva said. "We are grateful for the valuable inputs that our colleagues raised, and the points they raised will form part of our report to the plenary."

"Tinalakay po natin ang mga proposed amendments ng ating mga kasamahan sa pulong kanina para mas mapabilis po ang proseso. If kinks can be ironed out early, then the faster the bill can move towards approval," he said.

Villanueva admitted that there are complex issues to the creation of a new agency whose proposed mandates are being shouldered at present by multiple agencies.

"May birth pains po, at mahirap ang maging midwife nito," said Villanueva, who will defend the measure in plenary as Senate labor committee chair. "But once the committee report has been finalized, we will sponsor it in plenary immediately."

"Ang gusto po natin na committee report ay yung tumataguyod sa interes ng mga kababayang OFWs at lahat ng Pilipino sa labas ng bansa," he added.

The bill echoes the voices of OFWs and overseas Filipinos who were constantly consulted throughout the different stages of the process, he also pointed out.

"Malinaw po ang ating panukalang departamento ang magiging unang takbuhan ng ating mga kababayan, at nais nating wakasan na ang karanasan na pinagpapasa-pasahan ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno," he said.

"Ever since we started our hearing the bill last September 2018, our goal remains the same: to establish the department not to encourage migration-for-work, but to address the plight of overseas Filipinos, especially our OFWs," Villanueva said.

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