Duterte affirms commitment to modern-day heroes, says they will come home to a better Philippines

President Duterte affirms his commitment to become an effective President for Overseas Filipino Workers' (OFW), by giving them a better Philippines. In a speech he delivered to the Filipino community at Vientianne (capital of Lao PDR), during the ASEAN 2016 Summit, he assured them that they will come home to a better Philippines.

"I assure you pag-uwi niyo, iba na ang sistema doon (I assure you, when you return to the Philippines, the system will be better)," President Duterte said. "Give me time and I will fix the country," he further declared, the Philippine News Agency reported.

A cornerstone of the President's foreign policy is to improve OFW services. Four days after assuming his appointed post, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay iterated his mandate from Malacanang:

"I have my marching orders coming from the President, the first being we must make sure that our overseas Filipino workers' needs and problems are specially and adequately addressed," Yasay said.

He continued, "We want to make sure that from the very day, the first day that the recruitment processes start, up to the time that they arrive at their point of destination, we will be ready and available to help them in their needs."

The Duterte Administration has made it a top priority to serve the needs of the country's modern-day economic heroes, whose remittances keeps the economy afloat and insulated by global downturns.

On August 15, the first one-stop shop for OFWs, where they can avail of all government frontline services, was opened. The One-Stop Service Center for OFWs (OSSCO) is seen to reduce applicants and workers transportation expenses and shorten processing time of their documents.

"Don't hesitate to call in time of need"

Earlier in the week, the President welcomed 128 repatriated OFWs from Saudi Arabia, who lost employment due to the kingdom's weakening economy.

In his welcome remarks and spoken off-script, Duterte announced he would be giving cash to the repatriates. He also vows to help them, even welcoming them in Malacanang if their situation worsens.

"If it spells hunger, don't hesitate to call me," he said.

Aside from the cash aid, the President offered the repatriated workers temporary inclusion in the government's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). The latter is a welfare program that "provides conditional cash grants to the poorest of the poor, to improve the health, nutrition, and the education of children aged 0-18."

In addition, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello informed the workers that government lawyers were sent to Saudi Arabia to help get their back pay, separation pay, and other benefits.

GMA News reported that "the OFWs who arrived home months after they were laid off in Saudi Arabia were all praises for President Rodrigo Duterte."

Source: Philippine Information Agency

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