Christopher “Bong” Go expressed his concern over the issue of the recruitment scam that allegedly victimized hundreds of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Italy during the public hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers on Wednesday, February 7.
He is vice chairperson of the Committee.
Go, one of the authors and co-sponsors of Republic Act No. 11641 that created the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), said that the government must listen and protect the rights and welfare of Filipino migrant workers.
“Ang ating mga Overseas Filipino Workers ay ang mga modern day heroes ng Pilipinas. Sila ang simbolo ng katatagan at kasipagan ng mga Pilipino. Malaki ang kontribusyon ng mga OFWs sa ating ekonomiya. Ang kanilang remittances ay ang lifeline ng milyun-milyong pamilyang Pilipino, upang magkaroon ng access sa mas mabuting edukasyon, healthcare at pabahay,” Go said in his manifestation.
He added that the DMW, headed by OIC Hans Cacdac, should lead the efforts to assist the OFWs who were scammed by fraudulent recruitment agencies that promised them jobs but failed to deliver.
“Ako po ay nananawagan sa ating mga kapwa kawani ng gobyerno sa DMW na magbigay ng agarang suporta sa ating mga kababayan na biktima ng recruitment scam,” Go said.
He also thanked the committee chairman Senator Raffy Tulfo for conducting the hearing, saying that the issue reached his office in the previous months.
The Philippine government has already promised legal aid to Filipinos who were scammed in Italy. At the same time, Italian lawyers will assist the victims in filing cases against the accused firms.
The DMW also works with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to document and investigate the complaints.
“Ilang buwan na ang nakaraan nang malantad ang recruitment scam, kailangan natin ng agarang aksyon upang mapagtuunan ng pansin ang isyu na ito. Nananawagan po ako sa DMW, sa Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) na ibigay ang buong suporta sa mga naapektuhang indibidwal. Dapat ring bilisan ng DOJ ang kanilang aksyon sa isyu na ito. Hindi lang po yan, dapat siguruhin na hindi na ito maulit,” Go said.
He also empathized with the plight of the OFWs who had to leave their families behind to work abroad.
The senator urged all the parties involved to cooperate with the investigation and seek the truth and justice for the perpetrators.