Duterte to put more budget for OFWs

Senator Ralph Recto called for an annual increase in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)’s budget assistance for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to better aid Filipino migrants in distress.

Recto said the 140 percent increase in the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) fund to P1 billion (Dh71.45 million) in 2018 is huge leap from the current P400 million (Dh28.58 million), but it should be higher.

 

“It is a big jump. The challenge now is how to increase it yearly. It should not be static again. ‘Yung P1 billion [budget], kulang pa rin,” the Philippine Canadian Inquirer quoted Recto as saying.

He added the Legal Assistance Fund (LAF) is also expected to double to P200 million (Dh14.29 million) next year.
ARN and ALF are DFA’s programs that aim to assist distressed OFWs for repatriation, shipment of remains, hospitalizations, temporary accommodation, food and basic supplies, and other similar expenses.

The Senate Minority Leader also urged the government to assign a “singular budget tally” to consolidate all fund sources for OFWs.
“Sa ngayon kasi, dispersed [ang budget for OFWs]. Agencies like DFA, the Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development have their budgets for OFWs,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the increase of OFW assistance fund to more than P1 billion to “ensure that [OFWs’] rights are protected”.

“We have been hard at work in securing the rights and welfare of our OFWs,” Duterte said in his second State of the Nation Address. “They are our heroes. They and their families have sacrificed much for the country.”

The increase in OFW assistance fund, which has long been lobbied by Recto, is now possible under the proposed P19.5 billion (Dh1.39 billion) 2018 budget allocation for DFA.

Source: filipinotimes

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