Kuya Bong: DOFil to address bureaucratic barriers

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said the government continued to be constrained in fully discharging its responsibilities to safeguard the rights and promote the welfare and interests of overseas Filipinos due to the current set up of the bureaucracy.

Go affirmed the need for the establishment of a new department with an internal organization that allows the State to carry out its functions and mandates more efficiently and more responsive to the needs of concerned sectors amid challenging times.

“Matagal na ako sa serbisyo publiko. Mahigit dalawang dekada akong nanilbihan kay Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte. Alam ko na kung watak watak ang mga ahensya, hindi ganun kabilis at maayos ang serbisyo ng gobyerno,” Go said.

He argued that Congress must act quickly to streamline functions, improve coordination and make government more responsive to the needs of millions of overseas Filipinos who must contend with the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and global economic downturn, among others.

Go expressed concern over the inefficiencies and inconveniences that occur should the bureaucracy continue to remain in its current state which affects the ability of the whole government to respond appropriately and deliver in a timely manner the assistance needed by constituents.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) reported government has helped repatriate around 370,000 OFWs since the start of the pandemic. An estimated 80,000 more OFWs are expected to return to the Philippines within the first half of 2021.

Despite this, Go warned more protections will be needed during the pandemic and towards recovery as well as in preparation for future global emergencies.

“Sampung porsyento ng populasyon natin ay mga overseas Filipinos. Malaki ang ambag nila sa ating ekonomiya. Bakit ipagkakait natin ang mas maayos na serbisyo ng gobyerno para sa kanila?” he demanded.

Go emphasized the need to streamline all related responsibilities concerning Filipinos overseas into one department so that decisions and actions can be made in the shortest time possible.

“Hirap na ang mga kababayan natin. Huwag na natin sila mas pahirapan pa dahil sa burukrasya. Gawin natin ang lahat para maging akma, sapat, mabilis at maayos ang serbisyo natin sa kanila,” Go said.

Go had filed Senate Bill No. 1949, otherwise known as the Department of Overseas Filipinos (DOFil) Act of 2020.

The bill creating DOFil is one of the priority measures of the present administration as mentioned numerous times by President Rodrigo Duterte, including in his last two State of the Nation Addresses. The President recently certified the measure as urgent, which prompts the legislative branch to act on the matter immediately.

The proposed department will be primarily mandated to formulate, recommend and implement national policies, plans, programs and guidelines that protect overseas Filipinos, including OFWs, as well as promote their interests and resolve issues concerning them in a timely and effective manner.

The DOFil will be responsible for providing all relevant social and welfare services, including insurance, social work assistance and legal assistance, as well as administer reintegration and social service programs to overseas Filipinos. It shall also provide Assistance to Nationals services, especially during times of national emergencies, such as pandemic or war.

“Bagong bayani kung ituring natin sila. Sana naman, suklian natin ang kanilang sakripisyo ng mas maayos at mabilis na serbisyo,” Go said.

Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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