THE proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Migrant Workers gathered support from stakeholders in a hearing held by the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs on Wednesday, November 30, 2023.
Kabayan Partylist Rep. Ron P. Salo, chair of the panel and principal author of the bill, highlighted that the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Migrant Workers will further promote the rights of OFWs, consistent with international conventions, existing laws, and the Constitution.
“The proposed measure marks a significant stride in fortifying the protection afforded to our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). It stands as a safeguard against the exploitation and abuses perpetuated by unscrupulous employers, human traffickers, and other nefarious entities,” Salo said.
“Through this legislation, we aim to fortify their rights, elevate their welfare, and ensure their safe and dignified journey, ultimately empowering them to navigate their roles abroad with security and confidence,” Salo added.
The bill garnered widespread support from both the public and private sectors, including the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA), and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“The Magna Carta includes provisions on the obligations of recruitment agencies, ensuring fair and ethical practices, just and humane working conditions, and safeguarding the rights of Filipino migrant workers to receive adequate wages, benefits, and social protection. It also establishes mechanisms for legal assistance, repatriation, and access to healthcare services,” Salo explained.
Salo underscored the bill’s comprehensive approach and aims to further broaden its scope by incorporating support from PhilHealth. He also reiterated his commitment to address the gaps in the bill as the deliberations continue.
“It is crucial that we incorporate mechanisms such as better access to PhilHealth benefits by OFWs even while abroad to enable a more holistic and comprehensive,” Salo highlighted. “We aim to cover all bases, and we are dedicated in enhancing provisions of the bill to make it more effective and responsive to the challenges faced by our migrant workers.”
“Further, as this bill is highly important for our OFWs, we plan to work with the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) to speed up the process and possibly for it to be certified as urgent,” Salo added.
“The Filipino Migrant Workers’ contributions are invaluable, and they sustain our economy through their dedication and sacrifices. Thus, this proposed measure acknowledges their unique circumstances and challenges, and seeks to institutionalize protections aligned with the true OFW experience,” Salo concluded.