By Mayen Jaymalin
The Philippine Star
08 June 2012
In honor of the nine million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the government is mounting an all-out campaign against illegal recruitment today.
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) chief Carmelita Dimzon said concerned government agencies are forging a memorandum of agreement for the implementation of an intensified program against illegal recruitment.
Dimzon said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) would be the signatories to the agreement.
DOLE is also set to implement a new policy that would no longer require vacationing OFWs to apply for new exit clearances.
Earlier, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz reported that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) would now allow the required overseas employment certificate (OEC) to be coterminous with the validity of the contract of OFWs.
Currently, OFWs are required to renew their OECs every time to they go back to the Philippines before they could return abroad.
POEA is set to pilot test its online processing of OECs in an effort to make it more convenient for OFWs to renew their OECs.
The government will likewise adopt a voluntary code of ethics for recruitment agencies during today’s Migrant Workers’ Day celebration.
According to Dimzon, the government tries to continuously craft various measures promoting the welfare and working conditions of OFWs worldwide.
In line with Migrant Workers’ Day, the government has put up processing centers to serve as a one-stop shop for OFWs in selected malls.
Dimzon added that OWWA has organized a whole day event dedicated to OFWs and their families.
About 2,000 OFW families would gather and participate in the festivities, she noted.
Part of the program would be the awarding of OWWA’s Tuloy-Aral Scholarships to selected beneficiaries, the presentation of the OWWA EDSP scholars, and the launching of the Search for the 2012 Model OFW Family.
OWWA has also invited various companies who would be offering employment opportunities for aspiring OFWs.
Meanwhile, a group of OFWs has insisted that the Aquino administration has not done anything to alleviate forced migration.
According to Migrante, as of October 2011, an additional 1.35 million Filipinos have been forced to go abroad due to lack of local employment opportunities.
“There are now 12 to 15 million overseas Filipinos all over the world scattered in at least 239 countries situated in six continents, namely, Asia, Australia, North America, South America, Africa and Europe,” Migrante said.
The group pointed out that about 30 to 40 percent of the 99 million population is remittance-dependent.
“The country’s economic situation has not improved and this explains the Aquino administration’s desperation to further seek job markets abroad and intensify its labor export program,” Migrante added.