The long wait is finally over! Along with the recent series of laws enacted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, which includes the Universal Healthcare Law, as well as the HIV-AIDS Law, among others, OFWs will now get the spotlight they deserve — as promised when Senator Manny Pacquiao drafted the bill which will provide OFWs a free rights handbook that will serve as a handy basis on how to deal with certain situations as migrant workers based overseas.
This is a major development for OFWs all over the world because the best way to counter abuse and maltreatment is not by force, but by knowledge; because where knowledge prevails, people of all status become aware of their rights and assert on getting the protection they deserve.
OFWs to Receive Free Rights Handbook
On February 22 (Friday), Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the OFW Handbook bill into law, as shared in a report by GMA News Online.
The newly signed law, Republic Act No. 11227, otherwise known as the Handbook for OFWs Act of 2018, mandates the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to develop, publish, disseminate, and update a handbook which will detail the rights and responsibilities of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) all over the world.
Furthermore, the rights handbook is to be given to every OFW, whether land- or sea-based, free of charge. It will contain information in English and in other local languages, for easier grasp and comprehension among OFWs.
The creation of the handbook aims to empower OFWs by raising their awareness of their rights and responsibilities, as well as providing them with basic information regarding the labour and living conditions in their host country, among others.
The new law also mandates the Department of Labour and Employment, POEA, and the Department of Foreign Affairs to work hand-in-hand in promoting the welfare and protecting the rights of OFWs under their respective jurisdictions.
The new law combines Senate Bill No. 192 and House Bill No. 8110. The enactment of the OFW Handbook Law reinforces President Duterte’s commitment in promoting the welfare of OFWs, as announced during his last SONA.