August 7, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 213 views

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez has emphasized his commitment to raising critical issues concerning the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Romualdez, in his keynote speech at a Filipino community event in Jakarta, said the key issues that the administration wants to address include the protection and welfare of OFWs.

The House leader stressed that the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is steadfast in ensuring the safety, well-being, and protection of OFWs, acknowledging their sacrifices and contributions to the Philippines’ economy.

“Nagpasya po akong dumalo sa AIPA ngayong taon dahil marami tayong kailangang i-discuss sa mga kapwa ko mambabatas mula sa mga bansa sa ASEAN at BIMP-EAGA,” Romualdez said.

“Kasama po rito ang mga batas na kailangang ipasa naming lahat para mapalakas ang ating mga ekonomiya. Gusto rin nating makatulong ang mga batas na ipapasa para maging masigla ang mga negosyo at makapagbigay tayo ng mas maraming trabaho sa ating bansa,” he added.

Likewise, he recognized the vital role played by the Filipino community in Indonesia, pointing out how well-regarded Filipinos are in the country as teachers, company executives, business consultants, engineers, accountants, lawyers, and investors.

Romualdez vowed to support them by creating more opportunities in livelihood and investment, with the aim to stimulate the overall economic development of the Philippines, such as initiatives to attract more foreign investments into the country.

Among others, he cited the passage of amendment to the Public Service Act, which relaxes the restrictions on foreign investments in public services.

“Many of you are abroad working for multinational companies. Why don’t we open our economy to these multinational firms so you can have the choice of working for these companies in our country where you can still come home every day to your families” Romualdez said.

“We are thinking every day of ways on how to serve you. All our energies are directed at how it (our work) will benefit the Filipino people because we are your representatives,” he added.

As Romualdez proceeds to the 44th General Assembly of AIPA, he committed to carry with him the aspirations of Filipinos globally.

“I will bring with me all the cheers, kind intentions, and goodwill of the Filipinos who are present here today and from all over the world,” he said.

His speech is seen as part of the wider effort to leverage international platforms to improve the welfare of Filipinos both domestically and overseas.

Romualdez noted the strides made towards the protection of OFWs through various laws Congress has passed.

Among others, he cited the enactment of Republic Act (RA) No. 11641 creating the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), acknowledged as another significant step forward in promoting and strengthening the welfare and protection of Filipinos working abroad.

Prior to the creation of DMW, the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 (RA 10364) and the Anti-Mail Order Spouse Law (RA 10906) enacted in 2016, served to protect Filipinos overseas who are victims of trafficking and exploitation.