A Catholic bishop welcomed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of a law creating a Department of Migrant Workers last week.
“The creation of [the new department] is a very necessary and timely Christmas gift for our migrant workers and seafarers,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, vice chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People.
He described the new office as a “work of compassion and care” for the welfare of Filipino migrant workers.
“With the new department [overseas workers] are specifically and personally protected and their rights are promoted,” said the prelate in an interview over Radio Veritas 846.
“We are grateful to our national government officials,” added the prelate. “Rest assured of our collaboration and services for the success of this [new department,” he said.
On December 30, Duterte signed into law a measure creating a department for overseas Filipino workers.
In May, the president certified as urgent the Senate bills seeking to create a department for the welfare of migrant Filipinos after the House of Representatives passed its version last year.
Under the measure, the department will absorb the functions of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and will be tasked to protect the rights of migrant workers.
The agency will also regulate overseas employment and the reintegration of Filipino workers.