House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to convene an interagency meeting to discuss how they could integrate their respective programs to assist OFWs abroad and those returning to the country.
During the briefing on the whole-of-government approach in its migration policy response to the Covid-19 pandemic held at the House of Representatives on July 14, Cayetano cited the need to submit an “integrated and comprehensive plan” for OFWs.
To ensure that the needs of the OFW programs are sustained amid the battle against COVID-19, the Taguig lawmaker asked the DFA, DOLE, and other OFW-related agencies to submit their funding requirements that can be funded either under the Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan II) or the 2021 national budget.
The House leader pointed out that there is a need for the OFW-related agencies to convene an inter-agency meeting to determine the missing elements or the weakest links in the system.
He said returning OFWs often experience being pointed to one agency after the other for their documentation, training, funding, and educational needs.
Cayetano recalled that during his stint as foreign affairs secretary, an interagency working group was formed to identify existing programs across different government agencies and discuss areas of cooperation and integration.
“It requires full coordination and adoption of a whole-of-government approach,” he said.
“We need to work together to survive the crisis and execute a united response to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic,” Cayetano said.