Solon wants OFWs' pre-departure seminar updated
MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos will be better prepared for overseas employment if the government expands the coverage of their pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS), a lawmaker said.
Alay Buhay Representative Weslie Gatchalian on Tuesday, April 14, filed House Bill 5662, seeking to amend the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 to further strengthen the PDOS.
He said the PDOS curriculum needs to be revised as it has been rarely updated since its inception in 1983.
The update is crucial "to reduce, if not eradicate, the vulnerability of our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) to abuses and for them to be fairly competitive," he said.
The PDOS is a requirement for departing Filipino migrant workers, a seminar meant to empower them with basic information they'll need in their employment-related migration.
The measure proposes the inclusion of the following matters in the PDOS curriculum:
- terms of deployment and employment contracts, including rights and obligations of labor migrants and their employers
- criminal laws and regulations of destination countries
- arrival and departure procedures for country of origin and destination countries
- role of the Philippine diplomatic missions and procedures on how to access assistance
- basic language course of destination countries
- issue on human rights and drug trafficking
- cultural and religious awareness of destination countries
- insurance claims and financial literacy
- banking and remittance channels
- social security benefits
- occupational safety and health
- human rights and gender sensitivity
- mental and psychological issues
- reintegration for returning and deported OFWs
Basic language training
Gatchalian stressed how his bill "provides OFWs with reliable and dependable piece of information on their destination countries on arrival and on site assistance."
The proposed PDOS curriculum will also include the receiving country's "cultural, religious and economic situations and reintegration mindset in the event our OFWs settle for good in the country," he explained.
"Also, another novel feature of the bill is the teaching of basic language on vocabulary, common words, and listening skills of destination countries to our OFWs for them to easily communicate, adapt, and integrate with the destination countries," he added.
He said such a feature will "certainly add value to the services of our OFWs to their foreign employers that will make them more internationally and globally competitive."
The Philippines is a known labor-sending country, with over 10 million Filipinos either temporarily working or permanently residing abroad.
While OFWs' remittances boost the Philippine economy, President Benigno Aquino III envisions "a government that creates jobs at home so that working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity." – Rappler.com