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Legarda to push for better government support for OFWs

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star
Legarda to push for better government support for OFWs
“May 1 is just a reminder for us to further strengthen our efforts to address the concerns of all Filipino workers and protect their fundamental rights. The celebration of Labor Day is a recognition of the important role that our workers play in sustaining the growth and recovery of our country,” UniTeam senatorial candidate Loren Legarda said.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — UniTeam senatorial candidate Loren Legarda vowed yesterday to push for better government support for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) if elected in the May 9 polls.

In her Labor Day message, the House Deputy Speaker who represents Antique cited the need for the national government to look into the plight of OFWs and not just focus on the welfare of those working in the country to ensure that every Filipino worker is provided equal support.

“May 1 is just a reminder for us to further strengthen our efforts to address the concerns of all Filipino workers and protect their fundamental rights. The celebration of Labor Day is a recognition of the important role that our workers play in sustaining the growth and recovery of our country,” she said.

A champion of labor rights in her three terms as senator, Legarda has committed to push for a strong and consistent legislative agenda for Filipino workers overseas as they continue to endure hardships while living and working abroad.

She urged the government to focus on providing adequate legal assistance; repatriation programs; reintegration programs for displaced OFWs, including entrepreneurial opportunities, skills mapping and matching between areas vacated by OFWs; and potential alternative places for redeployment.

As sponsor of International Labor Organization Convention 189 and co-author of the Domestic Workers Act, Legarda also renewed her call to acknowledge and appreciate the unpaid care and domestic work in the country.

“Aside from domestic workers who are one of the lowest paid workers and are usually subjected to poor working conditions such as longer hours of work but no overtime pay and lack of social benefits, we should also give importance to the current situation of unpaid care work in Filipino homes,” she said.

Legarda also called for strengthened efforts to empower micro, small and medium enterprises to provide more job opportunities and address unemployment.

As co-author of the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Legarda stressed the need to sustain our MSME programs because aside from generating employment opportunities and better incomes, MSMEs are powerful platforms for promotion of viable rural livelihoods, cultural preservation, socio-economic empowerment of indigenous peoples and environmental protection.

Legarda, whose candidacy was endorsed by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) – the biggest labor confederation in the country – for her initiatives to improve jobs, raise decent wages for workers and advance the protection of workers’ welfare, stressed that “there should also be greater efforts on the part of the national government to bring in direct foreign investments to spur local labor demand.”

“I salute our workforce for their sacrifices and significant contribution to helping our economy thrive amid the pandemic. As public servants, it is our responsibility to create opportunities for our people, address inequality, abuse and efficiencies that hinder career development of our workforce,” she said.

Legarda has authored laws such as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and its expanded version, Anti-Child Labor Law, Kasambahay Law, Public Employment Service Office Act, Barangay Kabuhayan Act, Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act, Green Jobs Act and the JobStart Philippines Act, among others.

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