Senator Christopher “Bong” Go gave his support for the proposed budget of the Department of Labor and Employment and its attached agencies for fiscal year 2021 during a hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Finance on Thursday, October 1.
In his manifestation, Go thanked DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III and the personnel of the department and its attached agencies.
He expressed his solidarity with all Filipino workers and business owners who lost their jobs and livelihoods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senator remains optimistic that the labor sector, while hit hardest by the crisis, will emerge stronger with the combined efforts of DOLE, the Institute of Labor Studies, National Conciliation and Mediation Board, National Labor Relations Commission, National Maritime Polytechnic, National Wages Productivity Commission, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Professional Regulation Commission, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the rest of the government, and private sector.
“I am positive that the labor sector will rise from this crisis and emerge stronger than ever,” he said.
“Ako po sa Senado ay nakahandang tumulong sa abot ng aking makakaya. Makakaasa po kayo sa aking suporta,” he vowed.
Go thanked the labor department for moving quickly to ensure the welfare of its displaced workers through such programs like the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program and Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Displaced / Disadvantaged Workers.
He likewise showed his appreciation for the nation’s modern-day heroes and called on OWWA and the POEA to continue improving their efforts to extend aid to OFWs in distress.
Go renewed his appeal for the creation of a department solely dedicated to ensuring the welfare and interests of Overseas Filipinos.
He explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed an urgent need for such an agency which, if established, would bring together and streamline the relevant services scattered across the government and improve the delivery of services to Filipinos abroad.
“Kung meron tayong isang departamentong nakatutok, malaki po ang magagawa nito sa pagpapabuti ng ating serbisyo.
Hindi po ‘yung kahit saan na lang sila (humihingi ng tulong), minsan sa Facebook, sa radio stations, kahit saan na lang po sila nananawagan,” explained Go.
He called on DOLE and its attached agencies for their support, and urged Senator Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, to fast-track the passage of Senate Bill No. 1835, the second iteration of Go’s original bill, which seeks to create the Department of Overseas Filipinos.
Villanueva, in response, expressed his support for the measure, explaining that Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles had recently furnished the unified version of the DOOF bill.
He asked all concerned executive agencies to work with Congress to finalize and hopefully pass the proposed measure creating the DOOF.
“Alam ko, sa mga kababayan nating nagtatrabaho sa abroad, mas nanaisin nilang magtrabaho dito sa ating bansa ngunit kailangan nilang maghanapbuhay at pumunta po sa ibang bansa para makapagtrabaho,” Go lamented in his speech, expressing concern that there are still many cases similar to Rose Policarpio, an OFW who was wrongly imprisoned for murder in Saudi Arabia.
“We work hard for their welfare, and it is about time that they actually feel that their government cares about them. Magmalasakit po tayo sa mga kababayan nating naghihirap at nangangailangan ng tulong kahit asan man silang parte ng mundo. Huwag po natin silang pabayaan. Bigyan natin sila ng mabilis, maayos at maaasahang serbisyo. Importante ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” said Go.