SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading House Bill 6649 seeking to strengthen the pre-departure orientation program for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), including financial and entrepreneurial education.
All 213 House Members in attendance voted for the bill which provides for the amendment of Republic Act 8042, as amended, otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995.”
Under the bill, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) shall regulate private sector participation in the recruitment and overseas placement of workers by setting up a license and registration system.
The POEA shall also formulate and implement, in coordination with appropriate entities concerned, a system for promoting and monitoring the overseas employment of OFWs, taking into consideration their welfare and domestic manpower requirements.
Likewise, the POEA shall be responsible for the regulation and management of overseas employment from the pre-employment stage, securing the best possible employment terms and conditions for OFWs and taking into consideration the needs of vulnerable sectors and the peculiarities of sea-based and land-based workers.
In appropriate cases, the POEA shall allow the lifting of suspension of erring recruitment agencies upon the payment of fine of P50,000 for every month suspension.
Moreover, the POEA shall also conduct comprehensive pre-departure orientation seminars (PDOS) to all overseas workers, in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Finance (DPF), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The pre-departure orientation seminars shall include the following curriculum: 1) terms of deployment and employment contracts, including rights and organization of migrants and their employers; 2) criminal and labor laws and regulations of destination countries; 3) financial and entrepreneurial education; 4) arrival and departure procedures for country of origin and destination countries; 5) role of Philippine diplomatic missions and procedures on how to access assistance; 6) basic language course of destination countries; and 7) issues of human rights and drugs trafficking; and 8) cultural and religious awareness of destination countries.
Also included in the curriculum are: procedure for filing insurance claims; banking and remittance channels; social security benefits; occupational safety and health issues; human rights and gender sensitivity; mental and psychological issues; reintegration for returning and deported OFWs, and family values.
An OFW, whose contract was renewed, or was re-hired in the same country shall no longer be required to attend the seminar unless a new curriculum is introduced for which the said OFW shall attend the new course conducted by professional accredited instructors for specific occupations, experience and destinations.
Lastly, the bill mandates POEA, in coordination with the DOLE, OWWA, DFA, DOH, DSWD, DOF and the DTI, issue the necessary rules and regulations for its effective implementation within 90 days after the approval of this Act. / EAG