The 10-million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have proven themselves as real heroes not only for their huge remittance amounting to USD30-billion a year but also for their ability to deliver a landslide victory for their own choice candidates.
This was apparent in the 2016 presidential election during which overwhelmingly OFWs across the globe have voted for then Mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Roa Duterte and eventually won the election.
For the first time in history, the strong 10-million OFWs rallied behind a man not from Luzon for their belief that only a decisive and iron man could bring about real change including their decades clamor for higher and official representation both locally and Internationally.
OFWs have been voiceless and the most vulnerable sector for exploitation and maltreatment. They suffered not only from their sponsors overseas but also from the designated Filipino officials. Financially, they became milking cow for some government agencies. PhilHealth is one of them.
In the very start of his administration President Duterte reciprocated OFWs by initiating corrective and responsive acts.
He appointed a veteran OFW as his own adviser with cabinet Secretary Capacity.
He sent a high level delegation to Middle East few months after taking oath to provide financial assistance to the hundreds of OFWs affected by bankrupt companies in Saudi Arabia. Most of them opted to avail of the massive repatriation.
Unfortunately the proposed separate OFW Department has yet to gain nod and support by the opposition despite the repeated pronouncement by the president himself.
The opposition obviously and politically don’t want this administration to advance more gain despite the clarity and objectivity of the proposal especially the amended bill 1949 of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.
That has prompted 350 OFWs leaders across the globe to discuss among themselves this week to have a united and strong stand.
This needs strong push; may be voice from the OFWs sector for the opposition bloc attention in the Senate.
For my fellow OFWs, we must have an open heart and understanding to prioritize the main objective of such department.
Yes, Sen. Bong bill has properly addressed the OFWs concern including the prospect positions to be created under the department.
Most of the 350 participants of the recent webinar meeting organized by Ms. Genna Sotto in the presence of Sen. Bong Go unanimously agreed that OFWs must run their new house including the top positions.
We do agree that qualifications among others are the length of services abroad with reputable and clean track record, served voluntary fellow OFWs. For the top positions like Secretary and undersecretary, I could suggest 20 years exposure abroad could be ideal. They can be traced easily on search engine online for easy reference.
Top officials must be knowledgeable of the host country’s culture and traditions.
In the Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East, candidates with rich background education should be strongly considered to effectively address and discharge duties.
China, Japan and even Russia; they only send Arabic-speaking diplomats and high ranking officials to Arab countries especially in the case of China.
Of course our neighbouring Muslim Asian countries they designate head of their mission to Arab countries with those who graduated in these states among their citizens.
For instance in the Philippines, we have hundreds of Filipinos who obtained their higher degree from Arab countries in the Middle East. This is if the new development genuinely intended to address the OFWs affairs and concerns. AHMT