Sun. Jan 24th, 2021

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said that the new version of the Department of Overseas Filipinos (DOFil) Act of 2020, or Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1949, which he filed early December aims to implement a one country-team approach of government offices and personnel posted abroad.

SBN 1949 was recently certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte,

The one country-team approach requires all officials in Philippine diplomatic posts to act together as one team, per country of assignment, in protecting the rights and advancing the welfare of Filipino migrant workers there, with guidance from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Foreign Service Posts.

Dahil sa one country-team approach sa latest version ng DOFil bill, inaasahan nating mas magiging mabilis at maayos ang pag-responde sa mga overseas Filipinos in distress (Because of the one country-team approach in the latest version of the DOFil bill, we will be able to respond faster to overseas Filipinos in distress),” he said.

Go, being the author of the bill, emphasized that the establishment of the DOFil would also help “rightsize” the bureaucracy by streamlining and rationalizing the organization and functions of all government agencies related to overseas employment and migration into one department.

It will also promote streamlined coordination among various officials and offices based abroad through the one country-team approach.

“[It is] about time that we create a Cabinet-level, secretary-led department with an organization structured to work together as one team to protect the rights and advance the interests and welfare of about 10 percent of our population who reside abroad,” the Senator explained.

Under the new DOFil bill, “all officers, representatives, and personnel of the Philippine government posted abroad regardless of their mother agencies shall, on a per country basis, act as one country-team with a mission under the leadership of the Ambassador or the Consul General.”

This also means that the officer who acts as the head of post abroad, such as the Ambassador or Consul General, through the DFA, may recommend to the DOFil Secretary the recall of DOFil officers, representatives and personnel posted abroad for misbehavior, misconduct or commission of acts that are detrimental to the national interest.

Other reasons for recall also include the failure to provide necessary services to protect the rights of overseas Filipinos, and failure to perform the duties required of Assistance to Nationals (ATN) officer.Lastly, the monetary claims arising out of an employer-employee relationship or by any contract involving overseas deployment or employment of Filipino workers will be transferred back to the Philippine Overseas Emloyment Administration within a year from the effectivity of the act. SOVEREIGNPH

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