New social welfare officers for OFWs
MANILA, Philippines – The government announced on Thursday, June 20, that it will send 6 social welfare officers abroad, as it conducts an investigation into an alleged prostitution ring backed by Philippine embassy officials in the Middle East.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has approved the creation of 6 new positions for Social Welfare Officers IV to assist Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in need of protection.
The new officers will also be responsible for building a network among welfare agencies to assist in the faster delivery of services to Filipino migrants.
The DBM approved the allocation of around P4 million for the new positions.
“The deployment of social welfare ambassadors will go a long way in safeguarding the well-being of our workers abroad and giving them immediate aid, even if they’re thousands of miles away from home,” said Budget chief Florencio “Butch” Abad.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) earlier proposed the creation of the 6 new positions for officers who will be deployed to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jeddah, Hong Kong, South Korea and Qatar.
The countries were chosen due to two major factors: the large concentration of OFWs and the number of reports of Filipino migrant workers in need of assistance.
In an interview with Rappler, the DBM's issues and media manager Peachy Paderna said that the creation of these new positions is not related to the exposé of Akbayan Rep Walden Bello on the abuse and prostitution of OFWs by embassy staff.
Paderna said the budget agency received the DSWD proposal in June.
The budget department also previously approved the creation of two attaché positions—later reclassified as Social Welfare Officers VI positions. They were deployed to Amman, Jordan and Riyadh.
“Having a representative situated overseas would also improve the coordination and collaboration among our government agencies, specifically the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), in addressing pressing concerns such as human trafficking, among many other forms of abuse,” said Abad.