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PRRD followed through on his commitment to improving the lives of OFWs: Bello

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is certain that the government has honored its promise to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to give them a better living as the Duterte administration draws to a close.

Silvestre Bello III, the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, confessed that he is working hand in hand with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to ensure that the Filipino people have a secure and prosperous future.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte recognizes the sacrifices made by our OFWs in order to give their families a better future.” As our modern-day heroes, the administration made sure they were one of our top priorities by assuring the protection and promotion of their rights and welfare,” Bello said in his report at the Duterte Legacy Summit on Tuesday at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

“We, at the Department of Labor and Employment, are dedicated to creating an environment that will generate quality jobs for Filipinos here at home, so that working overseas is a matter of choice, not necessity,” he added.

He stated that the government must ensure that those working in other countries are always safe.

“As long as there are Filipinos working overseas, it is our responsibility to ensure and increase the promotion and protection of our OFWs at every stage of the migration cycle,” Bello added.

Cycle of migration

The government has increased access to government services by establishing 18 One-Stop Service Centers for OFWs (OSSCOs), with the goal of lowering transportation costs and shortening processing times for more than seven million OFWs across the country.

“As a precaution, we will continue to ensure that all deployed OFWs are properly documented.” Over 11 million OFW contracts were examined by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices,” he said.

Providing legal assistance

Through proper documentation, education and advocacy, investigation, and prosecution of erring recruitment organizations, the Duterte administration continues to take aggressive actions against unlawful recruitment.

It has offered legal aid to over 140,000 OFWs and has resulted in the conviction of 40 illegal recruiters.

Bilateral labor agreements

In the areas of labor, employment, and migration, the DOLE has signed 26 International Labor Agreements with various nations, as well as providing additional protection to ensure that their rights are respected and their welfare is encouraged.

Asia, Europe, and the Middle East are among the host nations with which the Philippines has an existing BLA (bilateral labor agreement). Canada, Japan, China, Kuwait, Jordan, Israel, Korea, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, Lebanon, and Libya are among them.

“We have provided a wide range of on-site programs and services to more than seven million OFWs through our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices,” Bello added.


The DOLE continues to assist OFWs even after they return to the nation, and it has increased its efforts to ensure that OFWs return to their families and communities in a decent and productive manner.

“Through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Department provided services and interventions through our expanded Reintegration Program, which provided livelihood aid and training to more than 140,000 OFWs.” “More than 250,000 qualified dependents of OFWs received Education and Development Scholarships,” Bello remarked.

In moments of ambiguity,

OFWs and their families have received support from the DOLE, such as catastrophe relief. The initiative has aided over 340,000 OFW families that have been affected by typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the Marawi siege.

When the Covid-19 outbreak struck, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) protected and assisted displaced OFWs both at home and overseas.

In April 2022, 1.028 million OFWs were repatriated. They were provided with lodging, food, and other social and medical services. They were also carried to their final destinations by air, land, and sea to be with their families and loved ones in their home regions.

More than 500,000 impacted OFWs were awarded PHP10,000 cash assistance or USD200 for those who choose to stay abroad under the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong sa OFWs program to help them start over (AKAP).

Under the Tabang OFW Program, the DOLE, in collaboration with the OWWA and CHED Uni-FAST, provides a Tertiary Education Subsidy of PHP30,000 to over 30,000 OFW dependents.

“As we pass the baton to the next government, we will leave a legacy that honors the contributions and bravery of our overseas Filipino workers.” “In recognition of our migrant workers’ economic contribution, this administration has stayed committed in delivering the best service it can to all OFWs,” Bello added.

The Department of Labor and Employment also founded the Overseas Filipino (OF) Bank, which was created specifically to meet the financial needs of OFWs. Almost 40,000 bank accounts had been established under this bank’s umbrella.

It has launched a socialized and low-cost housing scheme for OFWs in collaboration with the National Housing Authority (NHA) to build a cheap and good neighborhood for workers’ families.

“In addition, we established the OFW Hospital, which will provide free medical treatment and health services to OFWs and their qualified dependents.” It currently functions as a polyclinic, with service capabilities shifting to an infirmary and, eventually, a 102-bed level 2 hospital in the following months,” Bello explained.

He said the establishment of the Department of Migrant Workers, which will provide a more pleasant and productive life for all OFWs, was one of the highlights of the Duterte administration.

“As we near the conclusion of our term, we will continue what we’ve started, hoping that the next government can build on the progress we’ve made,” he said.

“Six years have passed, and I can certainly state that we, at the Department of Labor and Employment, did everything possible to ensure that every Filipino worker had a comfortable existence. Thank you for allowing the Department to serve the Filipino people and make a difference in their lives,” he added.

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