President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s meeting with the Filipino community in Indonesia for his first foreign trip since taking office in June shows his concern for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople said Sunday.
“Unang-una, ang primary agenda natin talaga is makadaupang palad ‘yung mga OFWs na nandito,” Ople said in a press briefing on the sidelines of the chief executive’s state visit.
“First state visit ni President and I think it’s symbolic na sa unang araw pa lang gusto na niya ang una niyang maka-meet ‘yung ating OFWs. So it tells a lot about his concern for our workers,” said Ople, adding that there are 7,448 Filipinos in Indonesia.
In his departure statement, Marcos said he looks forward to sharing with the Filipinos in Indonesia and Singapore his administration’s commitment and plans to accelerate government efforts to protect the rights and ensure the welfare of overseas Filipinos.
“And beyond that, we must thank Singapore and Indonesia for the way that they have welcomed and allowed to assimilate our Filipino nationals into their society, into their economy, and into their daily lives,” he said.
“We are always so proud of them, and we are glad to see that our neighbors where our Filipino nationals work and strive also appreciate them for what they do.”
Meanwhile, Ople said she will meet with leaders of the Filipino community to discuss the flagship programs and projects of the newly established department.
Ople hopes to get in touch with OFWs to solicit their suggestions and listen to their concerns.
“Hopefully, the Department of Migrant Workers would be able to make a difference in several of the reform areas that we need to address,” Ople said.
During the briefing, Ople also announced that Facebook Singapore would be hiring Filipino workers for the first time.
In addition, she said Grab Singapore is also keen on hiring employees from the Philippines.
Ople said there are also ongoing talks between the DMW and the Ministry of Health of Singapore, with the latter expressing its desire to recruit more Filipino health workers. (PND)