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Davao City, Philippines

Go pushes for creation of Dept of Overseas Filipinos

February 13, 2020 - Thursday 10:02 PM by MDM

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DAVAO CITY -- Senator Christopher Lawrence Go said it is high time the Department of Overseas Filipinos be established to focus on the welfare of Filipinos working and living abroad, especially with the current global health threat caused by the Corona Virus Disease (COVID).
“I’m pushing for the creation of Department of Overseas Filipinos para po mayroon na tayong departamentong nakatutok sa kanila na tuwing may mga ganitong pangyayari, kita ninyo tuwing mayroong mga krisis, kung may mga sakit, iba-iba ang in-charge, DOLE, DFA, DOH,” Go said in a statement.
Go was referring to the recent repatriation of 30 Filipinos who were staying in Wuhan, China and decided to come home.

The Philippine government, through its eight-member Health Emergency Response Team (HERT) from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Health (DOH), arranged a chartered flight which landed in Clark International Airport last Sunday morning, February 9. All repatriates are now quarantined for fourteen days in the quarantine facilities at the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City, Capas, Tarlac.
“Kung mayroon tayong Department of Overseas Filipinos, ito po ay nakatutok lang sa kanila, lahat ng pangangailangan nila.  Tuwing ire-repatriate sila, may kaso sila, mayroon pong mga undocumented na Filipinos para tulungan po sila.  One department which will take care of all,” Go said.
Under Go’s proposed Senate Bill (SB) 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019, all government agencies concerned about overseas Filipino affairs will be consolidated under one roof. The bill will also address issues such as the welfare and well-being of Filipinos working and living abroad.
In previous statements, Go had already emphasized the need for a unified department solely dedicated for overseas Filipinos to eliminate confusion as to who or which department or agency will take charge of the concerns of overseas Filipinos, especially in times of crisis. 
SB 202 also aims to end the practice of finger-pointing among agencies concerned with overseas Filipinos. It will also address the provision of immediate legal assistance; 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 overseas Filipinos to aid in tracking their status and fast track delivery of assistance to distressed ones.
Go said the bill is still at the Senate committee level and urged fellow lawmakers to accelerate its passage.