MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Friday said his administration would make the families of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) a priority.
During a gift-giving event for migrant workers' families in Malacañang, Marcos described OFWs as modern-day heroes and lauded their sacrifices to provide for their loved ones.
"Lagi niyong inaaalala ang inyong mga pamilya. Siguro karapat-dapat lamang na ang Department of Migrant Workers ay hindi lamang migrant workers ang... inaalagaan, kundi pati ang pamilya," Marcos said on the first anniversary of the agency.
"Siguro 'yan ang pinakamalaking pagbabago sa ating [DMW] na hindi lamang ang mismong OFW na nasa abroad na nagtratrabaho, pero pati na ang kanilang mga pamilya ay titingnan natin ang kanilang kalagayan at ano ang kanilang pangangailangan," he added, without giving specifics.
(You always keep your families in mind. Perhaps it's only right that the Department of Migrant Workers takes care not just of OFWs, but your families as well. Perhaps that us the biggest change in our OFWs, we will look after not just OFWs working abroad, but check on the needs of their families as well.)
DMW Secretary Susan "Toots" Ople in June said she was consulting experts on Marcos' directive to take care of OFWs' children and migrant workers returning permanently to the Philippines.
Recently, the government launched OFW Children's Circle, a program that seeks to help children cope with the negative effects and social costs of migration.
"Inaasahan natin na sa pagsisimula ng ating bagong konsepto, ng ating bagong polisiya sa ating migrant workers, ay maramdaman na kaagad ang sinimulan natin... para sa mga pamilya," Marcos said.
(We expect that our new concept, policy for our migrant workers will be felt immediately.)
There were some 1.8 million OFWs in 2021, according to government data. The money they send back home helps boost the economy.
Some 250 children received gifts from the President during Friday's event, the DMW said. Select families got gift bags, which contained 5 kilos of rice, coffee, canned goods, and noodles.
Video from RTVM