Go renews push for OFW department amid COVID-19 crisis

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2020   •   695

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday reiterated his call for the establishment of the proposed Department of Overseas Filipino Workers (DOFW) amid challenges posed by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to migrant workers.

In a statement, Go said that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the world economy, resulting in significant losses of jobs for Filipinos abroad.

Go has been pushing for the creation of a department that will manage the welfare and address concerns of OFWs.

“Noon pa lamang ay marami nang mga issues ang kinakaharap ng ating mga kababayang nagtatrabaho abroad. Ang paglipat-lipat ng ahensya ay naging pabigat na proseso sa kanila mula sa pagkuha ng kanilang mga permit, hanggang sa pagbigay ng tulong para maresolba ang mga problemang hinaharap nila sa ibang bansa,” he said.

“Mas lumala pa ngayon dahil sa hirap na dulot ng COVID-19 crisis. Kung mayroon pong DOFWs, mas mapapadali sana ang koordinasyon ng mga ahensya at may iisang departamento na tututok sa mga pangangailangan nila,” he added.

Go filed a bill seeking for the establishment of OFW department in 2019. The House of Representatives has passed its version in March this year while its Senate counterpart remains pending in the committee on labor, employment and human resources development.

His proposed Senate Bill 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019 proposes to put government agencies dealing with OFW affairs under one umbrella.

The measure also aims to address perennial issues, such as the need to ease the coordination among offices concerned with OFW affairs; immediate legal assistance to OFWs in distress; lack of full migration cycle approach in promoting migrant’s rights from pre-employment, onsite and reintegration services; and lack of shared database system that contains all information of all OFWs to aid in tracking their status and fast track delivery of assistance to distressed workers.

Currently, services and information about OFWs are scattered throughout several offices.

“Madaming dinadaanan pang iba’t ibang ahensya bago makaresponde ang gobyerno sa mga OFWs na humihingi ng saklolo. Iba-iba ang concern, iba-iba ang kailangang lapitan pa mula DFA, OWWA, MARINA, at iba pa,” Go said.

“Nalilito ang ating mga OFWs sa pangkasalukuyang sitwasyon. Sa oras na kailangan nila ng saklolo, hindi na nila alam sino dapat lapitan kaya sa media o Facebook sila nananawagan,” he added.

If a department for OFWs will be created, Go said this will make government more efficient and responsive to the concerns of Filipinos abroad.

“If mayroon na tayong department for OFWs, iisa na lang ang lalapitan at iisa na lang ang makikipag-coordinate na departamento. Magiging mas maayos ang pagresponde sa mga krisis at mas mabilis nating matutulungan ang ating mga kababayang humihingi ng saklolo,” he stressed.

The lawmaker stressed that the challenges currently faced by OFWs and the difficulties experienced by the government in responding to their needs show the relevance of the proposal to establish a department with a sole mandate to handle the concerns of our “modern day heroes”.

“Nakita po natin ang mga pagsubok na pinagdaraanan ng ating mga OFWs dahil sa COVID-19. Napapanahon na talaga para magtatag tayo ng departamento upang mas maprotektahan ang kanilang kapakanan,” Go said.

OFWs displaced by the public health emergency have been repatriated to the country through flights facilitated by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Department of Labor and Employment have extended assistance to qualified OFW beneficiaries under the government’s livelihood and other assistance programs.

The Maritime Industry Authority, for its part, is implementing its Seafarers Uwi Pamilya program where seafarers stranded in Metro Manila are assisted in going home to their families in the provinces, subject to quarantine and other health protocols.

PDP Laban’s ‘BaGo’ tandem received well by supporters

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Partido Demoratiko Pilipino-Lakas Bayan (PDP-Laban) said the tandem of  presidential aspirant Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa with Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go as his vice president has been well received by supporters.

PDP-Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag said the party is set to roll out the caravan this week for the two candidates dubbed as the “BaGo” tandem.

“We are ready for that, we are preparing for that. But let me state it again, we are already rolling the campaign of Bato-Go tandem. Sabi nga namin, “BaGo 2022’ para sa tuloy-tuloy na pagbabago (BaGo 2022 for change to continue),” he said.

Matibag added that it may look like a last-minute decision but Dela Rosa has been one of the choices as the standard-bearer of the ruling party since months ago, and his selection went through the proper process.

“He [Bato] is being received very well,” Matibag said.

“I admire the humility of Senator Bato na sinasabi niya, ‘Hindi naman talaga ako, mayroon talagang ibang pwede,’  and that is a good character of a next president of the republic,” he added. AAC

 

Bong Go denies ‘substitution’ speculations

Maris Federez   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has denied speculations that he is paving the way for the candidacy of another individual through substitution. He reiterated that he is committed to his decision to run for vice president in the upcoming 2022 national elections, a statement released Wednesday (October 13) said.

“I can’t speak for the other candidates. Hindi po ako makapagsalita kung ano po ang magiging desisyon ng partido. As far as I am concerned, sa aking tinakbuhang posisyon, desidido na po ako,” Go said in an interview during the launch of the country’s 143rd Malasakit Center in Tangub City, Misamis Occidental on Tuesday.

Go said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to retire from politics prompted him to take on the challenge to run for vice president.

He further noted PDP-Laban’s preparations for the elections, stressing that someone must step forward for the party so that the administration may continue its programs and pursue further the positive change that the president has started.

“Ang importante para sa akin ngayon ay economic recovery, makabalik na tayo sa normal na pamumuhay. ‘Yun po ang importante,” he added.

Go, nevertheless, stressed that despite his vice presidential bid, he remains focused on his duties as a senator and public servant.

“Ayaw ko munang pag-usapan ang pulitika kaya parati kong sinasabi, bakuna muna bago ang pulitika dahil baka wala na tayong pag-usapang pulitika kung hindi natin malampasan ang krisis na ito. Buhay po ang nakataya dito,” he said. —/mbmf

Sara Duterte says she wants to finish last term as Davao City mayor; appeals for understanding from supporters

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Wednesday appealed for understanding from  supporters who have been pushing her to seek a national position in the 2022 elections.

“Masakit din para sa aking damdamin na sana’y magpaubaya sa mga kaibigan na hindi ko maibigay ang gusto ninyo,” Duterte-Carpio wrote on her official Facebook page.

Various political groups have expressed their support for the presidential daughter should she decide to join the presidential race.

Duterte-Carpio’s supporters have also conducted various activities to convince her to run for president and file her candidacy before the deadline on Friday, Oct. 8.

The Davao City mayor has consistently topped pre-election surveys on presidential preferences who may replace her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, when his term ends in June 2022.

Despite all this, she still filed her certificate of candidacy for reelection as Davao City mayor.

Duterte-Carpio said she still has a lot to do in her city as she reiterated her earlier statement that she has no plans to seek a national post in next year’s polls.

“Gusto ko po sana tapusin muna ang huli kong termino sa Mayor bago ako manungkulan sa ibang position,” she said.

“Madami sa inyo ang nasasaktan, sumama ang loob at nawalan ng pag-asa pero puwede pa rin tayo magtulungan para sa ating bayan, di kailangan ng position, di kailangan ng tayo ay Pangulo upang makatulong,” she said.

“Gawin natin ang pagtulong sa kapwa sa araw-araw natin na pamumuhay. Maraming Salamat po,” she added.

Sara Duterte-Carpio earlier said that she would not run for president, citing their family’s agreement that only one of them should gun for a national position.

President Duterte previously said he will run as vice president but later withdrew his certificate of nomination and acceptance (CONA) and instead threw his support for the vice presidential bid of his former longtime aide, Senator Bong Go.

At the same time, he also announced his retirement from politics and mentioned that his daughter Sara will run with Go in 2022 polls.

The camp of Sara Duterte had no comment regarding the president’s statement.

 

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