The “Department of Overseas Filipinos” SB 202
As a former OFW, Chair of the Filipino Migrant Workers Group and the Chief of Staff of Cong John Bertiz in the 17th Congress, I would like to congratulate Senator Bong Go for taking the cudgels in filing Senate Bill 202. Having given priority to file SB 202 in the Senate is a clear manifestation of his desire to serve the Overseas Filipinos & help fulfill the President’s campaign promise of a separate Department for OFWs.
The recent pronouncement of PRRD at the OFW Event in Camp Crame on the creation of a new Dept for OFWs will definitely pave the way for faster action in both chambers right after the 18th Congress opens its regular session.
In view of these developments , there were talks amongst the leaders & members of the Sector as to who should run the Department once created. While I agree to the clamor of my fellow OFWs to have The Dept run and managed by OFWs, I believe it is also imperative to focus first on the provisions of the proposed Law that would create the Department, making sure it is designed & polished well to respond to the needs of the Overseas Filipinos.
I suggest that the Sector (particularly the best and the brightest members) should come forward to help the Author in every way they could. They should attend (if possible) the Senate and House Committee Hearings to articulate & make known of their stand on vital issues and concerns of OF’s & OFWs. They should be prepared to offer possible solutions on all challenges & gridlocks to be encountered during deliberations up to the crafting of the required Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
This is where we shall see our leaders/members at work who can show their real potentials/capabilities in dissecting & resolving issues, as well as crafting policies. I guess this is also the chance for those who believe they are fitted and deserving aspirants to put their right foot forward to be recognized by the Sector they wanted to serve and show their wares and in-depth knowledge on the issues at hand.
In this way, we would likewise know the true Grit of the leaders coming from the ranks whom we can nominate, support and even lobby for the needed appointment.
At this early, I humbly suggest that interested leaders/members of the Sector & various Organizations to read & comprehend the provisions of the proposed Senate Bills & House Bills and take note of all provisions & contentious issues that maybe needed to be improved, changed, clarified or even be deleted.
Meanwhile, the provisions of SB 202 is quite clear on the required qualifications of the Officials for the Dept. Our colleagues aspiring to be officers of the Department should look into those requirements. I agree however that the Top Executives should have the relevant expertise & experience to assume sensitive and challenging posts. Otherwise, it will be bound to fail in serving our people and defeats the purpose of having a new Department, if given to just any Tom, Dick & Harry (OFWs included) who has nothing to show except being close to the powers that be.
Jun S Aguilar
Chair, FMW Group