Press Release
October 3, 2016

Bam eyes safety, livelihood of OFWs

Recognizing their immense contribution in keeping the country's economy afloat, a senator has filed a measure that aims to ensure the safety of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) while abroad and secure their livelihood once they return to the Philippines.

In his Senate Bill No. 648 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Assistance Act, Sen. Bam Aquino seeks to bolster support for the OFW community and the families they leave back home.

"They aren't only keeping their loved ones above water financially, they are also keeping the Philippine economy afloat with remittances reaching $16.21 billion or P764 billion from January to August 2015," Sen. Bam said in his measure.

"Even with their contribution, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) remain vulnerable to poor working conditions and abusive employers. In addition, their employment abroad is no guarantee of financial success," the senator added.

In a survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) last September 2015, only 38.2 percent of the 563 household-respondents said that a portion of the money from OFWs are set aside for savings.

"This is very alarming since many OFWs come home without a plan for retirement," Sen. Bam said.

The measure mandates the Public Attorney's Office to establish a help-desk in every international port of exit in the Philippines to offer legal service, assistance and advice to departing migrant workers.

"It also sets effective, efficient and credible information dissemination to OFWs on labor, employment, and migration data through various mediums, including social media," said Sen. Bam.

The measure requires all embassies and consular offices to designate at least one social media officer who will be responsible for the efficient and timely dissemination and communication through social media of pertinent information related to the welfare, protection and security of migrant workers, especially in hotspots and vulnerable areas.

Furthermore, the measure integrates programs on livelihood, entrepreneurship, savings, investments and financial literacy to the existing efforts of embassies to truly achieve prosperity for every Filipino family.

"This is our opportunity to show our gratitude for and appreciation to our overseas Filipinos while fulfilling our duty as public servants," Sen. Bam stressed.

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