President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. honored overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on Friday and promised to ensure their welfare and interests, even that of their families in the Philippines, during a gift-giving event in Malacañang.
“Malapit po sa akin ang mga OFW at ang kanilang mga pamilya. Kaya naman sa ating administrasyon, lalo nating pinagtitibay ang Department of Migrant Workers upang mas mabilis ang serbisyo at pagkalinga para sa ating mga bagong bayani,” President Marcos said as he led the gift-giving event, “Pamaskong Handog Para sa Pamilyang OFW,” at the Palace Grounds.
“Ngayon, higit kailanman ay napakahalaga ng papel na ginagampanan ninyo na maiahon ang ating ekonomiya at maiangat ang antas ng pamumuhay ng inyong pamilya at kapwa Pilipino,” the President added.
The event coincides with the first anniversary of the creation of Republic Act No. 11641, the law creating the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) headed by Secretary Susan Ople.
The President greeted the officials and personnel of the DMW for the agency’s first anniversary, commending them for their hard work that benefited the OFWs and their families.
“Sa nakaraang taon ay nakita natin na buong sigasig na nagtatrabaho ang kagawaran upang siguruhin ang interes at kapakanan ng ating mga OFW,” he said, noting DMW has initiated change by advancing not only the interest of OFWs but also their families.
According to the President, the DMW has been working to provide shelter, scholarships, and other services and benefits to the families of Filipino overseas workers.
The DMW reported that from July to December this year, it assisted some 766,290 OFWs to find decent employment abroad and facilitated the repatriation of 6,341 distressed OFWs.
The agency also continues to provide livelihood assistance and scholarships to the families of OFWs, with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) extending 16,000 scholarships as of November 2022.
“At alam din namin, na kapag kayo ay nasa abroad at kayo’y nagtatrabaho, ang lagi ninyong inaalala ay ang inyong pamilya. Kaya’t siguro karapat-dapat lamang na ang Department of Migrant Workers ay hindi lamang migrant workers ang inaalala at inaalagaan, kung hindi ang mga pamilya ng migrant workers,” he said, expressing elation over DMW’s reforms in the last six months as a new department.
“Kaya’t sana naman ay inaasahan namin na kahit papaano dito sa pagsimula ng ating bagong konsepto, ng aming bagong polisiya dito sa ating mga migrant workers, ay maramdaman na kaagad ay sinimulan na natin dito sa pamimigay ng konting regalo. Hindi lamang ulit para sa OFW lamang, kung hindi para sa mga pamilya.”
The President was joined by First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, his sons Joseph Simon and William Vincent, Secretary Ople, and other officials during the event.