IRR of law forming Office of Social Welfare Attache inked

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11299 also known as An Act Establishing the Office for the Social Welfare Attache on Wednesday.

Former ANGKLA Party list Rep. Jesulito Manalo, in a speech, lauded the enthusiasm of public to have an attache as it will help determine the social and mental state of Filipinos working abroad.

This is an opening where our workers abroad can now be treated [well] and be opened to what our country can do for them, he added.

The law was authored by Manalo and Senator Joel Villanueva.

The new law highlights the establishment of the Office of the Social Welfare Attache (OSWA), which will be managed by social welfare attaches (SWAtts) and will serve as the arm of DSWD, through its Home Office and Foreign Posts, in protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of overseas Filipinos (OFs) and their families, especially those in distress.

While in the host country, SWAtts will primarily manage cases of overseas Filipinos in distress who need psychosocial services, such as victims of any forms of abuse, trafficking, and cases of abandoned or neglected children.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, in an interview, said while the discussions for the SWA offices are still ongoing, there will be a total of 12 offices.

We have an initial budget of PHP90 million, he added.

The budget for the office is appropriated under the DSWD while the implementing rules and regulations are crafted by the same agency, in consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Department of Health, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and other stakeholders.

The SWAtts will be deployed for three consecutive years in countries with large concentrations of overseas Filipinos; the high magnitude of reported cases of irregular, distressed, and vulnerable OFs as determined in coordination with DFA and DOLE; and with an established Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Resource Center (MWOFRC). MWOFRC is the central hub for welfare and assistance to migrant Filipinos.

Currently, DSWD has seven SWAtts in the following embassies and countries: Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Philippine Embassy in Kuwait; Philippine Embassy in Malaysia; Philippine Consulate General in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Philippine Embassy in Qatar; and, Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong.

The IRR seeks to strengthen the department's hiring and deployment of more SWAtts in additional Foreign Service Posts, thus, intensifying the provision of social protection programs for OFs and their families.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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