- Outgoing president Aquino believes his administration was able to provide better support to OFWs
- He promised in his previous SONAs to make overseas employment “a choice rather than a necessity”
- OFWs are not impressed by the Aquino admin’s achievements and still prefer to work abroad
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been widely regarded as modern-day heroes for helping keep the Philippine economic afloat, with personal cash remittances alone reaching billions of dollars every year.
Despite their contributions, OFWs continue to face problems on basic services, harassment, security, among others.
The administration of President Benigno Aquino III has been focused on “bringing the OFWs home” and making overseas employment an option and no longer a necessity, as per an article published by GMA News.
Throughout Aquino’s term, several government agencies worked to improve and modernize their support systems for OFWs.
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) addressed the reintegration concerns of returning OFWs with scholarship and reintegration programs.
Better protection of OFWs, faster resolution of labor cases, and improved pre- and post-departure programs to equip OFWs with the right knowledge to make informed choices are among the achievements sighted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) under the Aquino administration.
The outgoing president also boasted his legacy on the country’s economic gains — attributing to his administration the transformation of the Philippine economy from being Asia’s “sick man” to its “rising tiger,” the most notable economic growth in the region.
But despite these accomplishments, newly-elected ACTS-OFW Party-list Representative John Bertiz told Rappler that the Aquino administration was still “disappointing” overall, citing the 8 OFWs executed during Aquino’s term and how the president did not visit 7 out of the 10 countries highly populated by OFWs.
Some OFWs interviewed by GMA News don’t seem impressed by the administration’s achievements as well. They still prefer to work abroad as they find “the government has no support to its people” and noted the “lack of decent jobs and rampant criminality” making it unthinkable to settle in the country.