Press Release
April 25, 2022

Leni, Kiko sign covenant, vow protection and social security for OFWs

VICE-PRESIDENTIAL candidate Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan has made a firm commitment to provide better protection and social security benefits to land-based and sea-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in a covenant he and Vice President Leni Robredo signed with the sector.

In signing the covenant, Pangilinan hailed anew the OFWs' hard work to give their families better lives. OFW remittances have also kept the economy afloat despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Patuloy ang inyong pagsisikap para sa inyong pamilya at sa bayan. Kailangan itong tumbasan ng pamahalaan ng mahusay at mabilis na serbisyo," Pangilinan said.

"Ang bawat paglayo ng ating mga OFW ay hindi dapat nasasayang. Dapat katulong ang gobyerno sa pagtupad ng inyong pangarap," he added.

Pangilinan said he supports the creation of migrant resource centers especially in the provinces "to make integrated and efficient migration services available in communities for OFWs and their families."

The covenant also seeks "ICT (information and communications technology) to communities; to empower families to participate in migration governance; to ensure fair and ethical recruitment; to prevent abuses, violence, trafficking or illegal recruitment; to allow reporting and access to justice remedies; and to help them plan and realize employment, skills development and reintegration."

OFWs also want the full implementation of Republic Act 11641 which created the Department of Migrant Workers Act to allow them to access government services and support.

Each local government unit should also have a Migration and Development Committee, Migrant Resource Centers and OFWs help desks for quick and effective response to OFW needs.

The covenant also calls to expand the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Trust Fund and use this to develop a national provident savings and reintegration fund for OFWs.

"This is an essential part of reintegration preparedness and serves as a safety net in times of crisis such job loss, untimely return, health and other emergencies," the covenant states.

OFWs also pushed for their social security rights in countries where they work through bilateral labor agreements and social security agreements.

"OFWs will have portability of benefits through bilateral labor agreements and social security agreements," the covenant said, adding that the Universal Healthcare Act should also be responsive to their needs and that of their families.

The covenant seeks a "recalibration" of the overseas deployment program by ensuring that OFWs will be deployed only to countries where their rights and welfare are guaranteed by national laws.

Earlier, Pangilinan presented a program that encourages OFWs to venture into agriculture after they retire.

The former food security secretary also suggested that adopting or establishing a farm enterprise will help these OFWs match the earnings they get from working abroad. For Pangilinan, Filipinos are seeking greener pastures overseas because the wages offered in the country are not enough to live a comfortable life.

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