Villar wants P1 billion fund to assist distressed OFWs

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar also wants undocumented Filipino workers abroad to be protected just like the documented workers.

The bill she authored, Senate Bill No. 32, seeks to provide an assistance program for overseas Filipino workers in distress, without the need to classify them as documented or undocumented.

Under the bill, a special fund of P1 billion will be created that can be used for repatriation, medical expenses, hospitalization and purchase of medicine of returning sick overseas workers; migration fees for overstaying Filipinos; legal assistance including litigation expenses, legal fees, payment of translation fees, attendance in court hearings; payment of blood money; and basic necessities of OFWs caught in emergencies or are detained.

Funds will be sourced from the earnings of the Bureau of Immigration, Duty-Free Philippines, passport processing fees of the DFA, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and other relevant offices or agencies.

Thirty percent of the budget will be allotted to support the livelihood programs, or skills acquisition or re-acquisition of new knowledge, education and trainings of returning OFWs.

“The practice now is the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration automatically provides funds for repatriation of distressed documented workers. If you are undocumented and you have problems abroad, the Department of Foreign Affairs, depending on availability of funds, will be the one to assist you,” she said.

“That should not be the case. They are all Filipinos who left the country because of lack of opportunities here. If they have problems abroad and they want to go home, the government should be prepared to assist them; manpower should be ready and funds should be available,” she added.

 Villar, also known as Mrs. Hanep Buhay, lamented that while there may be a comprehensive set of laws protecting the overseas workers, its implementation in reality remains wanting.

 In particular, she said, the funding requirement needed to effect a meaningful and truly caring-OFW environment is far from ideal.

“The present strategy, because of budgetary constraints, is towards giving a last ditch effort to save them. Worse, the undocumented workers or those who are hired by unscrupulous individuals or agencies or those who work abroad without acquiring the necessary dossiers as job contracts, labour cards or visas are not covered by existing laws for repatriation assistance,” she said.

The Nacionalista Party senator admitted this proposal is simpler than her proposal to create a separate Department of OFWs and will be easier to study by the Senate
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  1. kunin ang 1B sa kinurakot ni napoles

  2. 1 billion fund para sa mga ofw, grabe madami na sanang natulungan kung di lang winaldas ang pero ng taong bayan. nakakainis!

  3. naniniwala naman ako na di ginagamit o winawaldas nila Villar ang pera ng bayan. kahit nga di pa senador si Mrs. Villar noon ay madami na siya natulungan.