Press Release
October 1, 2018

Villanueva bill institutionalizing social welfare attaches in countries with high concentration of OFWs OK'd on final reading

Senator Joel Villanueva, chairperson of the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources development, on Monday welcomed the approval on third and final reading of a measure institutionalizing social welfare attachés as a permanent component of Philippine foreign posts in countries or jurisdictions with the highest concentration of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) or cases of Filipinos being trafficked.

Senate Bill No. 1819 or An Act Establishing The Office For Social Welfare Attaché gets the nod of senators who voted 18-0 on the measure.

"We thank our colleagues who supported our cause to ensure additional protection for our modern-day heroes by deploying more social welfare attachés in several parts of the world that will extend immediate assistance to our distressed and vulnerable OFWs," Villanueva, author and sponsor of the bill, said.

"This legislative exercise is a clear evidence of our honest and compassionate service to people and nation particularly to the OFW and their families, the senator emphasized.

Villanueva further noted that the bill's passage in the Senate is "an important milestone for the chamber in its aspiration to protect more than 10 million Filipinos spread out in more than 170 countries from exploitation, maltreatment and abuse."

The Social Welfare Attaché Bill provides: a) adequate and timely social, economic and legal services to OFWs; b) deployment of social welfare attachés to manage cases of OFWs in distress; and c) ensures coordination among agencies and various groups to address the psychosocial needs of distressed OFWs.

Data shows that from 2013 until the first semester of 2017, our Social Welfare Attachés served a total of 61,131 distressed OFWs who were victims of physical, sexual and psychological abuse, maltreatment, trafficking and marital conflicts, as well as abandoned or neglected children and other vulnerable sectors.

However, Villanueva noted that there are only eight social welfare attaches in several parts of the world as of May 2018.

"Kapag may permanenteng Social Welfare Attachés sa ating mga Philippine foreign posts, maiibsan natin agad ang mga kaso ng pang-aabuso at pagmamaltrato sa ating mga kababayang patuloy na nilalabanan ang kalungkutan at pananabik sa pamilya para lang matiyak ang magandang kinabukasan para sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay na naiwan nila dito sa Pilipinas," Villanueva said.

The senator further urged the House of Representatives to start the ball rolling in passing a similar measure to expedite the lending of necessary forms of assistance to our distressed migrant workers.

"To properly respond and cater to the tremendous need of our OFWs, facing horrendous conditions abroad, it is but necessary that we scrutinize every crevice to find ways and means to show sincere compassion, care and protection for our compatriots na handang magsakripisyo para sa bayan at mahal sa buhay," Villanueva said.

News Latest News Feed