Presidential frontrunner and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. assured overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) of the UniTeam’s commitment to support and facilitate the smooth transition and operationalization of the newly-created Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
The DMW was enacted into law last December 30, 2021 and is estimated to benefit and serve 2.2 million migrant workers based on the 2019 Survey on Overseas Filipinos conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
In his speech during a town hall meeting held in Marikina City, Marcos said that the creation of the OFW department will enable government to uplift not just the OFWs but also their families.
“We need to also look after the families of our OFWs, and provide access to scholarships for their children, affordable housing programs as well as sustainable livelihood programs. The social cost of labor migration must be reduced, while reintegration programs to welcome our returning workers home need to be expanded across all regions,” Marcos said.
The presidential frontrunner under the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas noted that the remittances of overseas workers constitute 8.9% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Marcos said the UniTeam’s priority remains job creation at home, in order to keep Filipino families intact but that he respects every Filipino worker’s desire to earn a higher income by going abroad.
“As parent, we all aspire to provide the best future for our children. Filipino workers remain in great demand across the globe because of their hard work, integrity, and competence. Our OFWs are the best ambassadors of goodwill that we could ever hope for,” leading presidential candidate said.
One of the most consistent requests from OFWs supporting the UniTeam, according to Marcos, was affordable housing. “Rent is eating up a great share of OFW remittances and it is the dream of nearly every OFW to have a home to own after their work contracts are over.”
He said the government can tap the different housing agencies and launch partnerships with the private sector for expanded affordable housing schemes for OFWs.
“Let’s look at how possible tripartite agreements between government through the Pag-IBIG fund, the private sector, and our OFWs for rent-to-own housing programs so that the homes they are renting can eventually be their own, “Marcos added.