OFW Crisis Center approved by council, but budget has to wait until 2022

Nov. 19, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A newly approved city ordinance establishing an Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Welfare and Crisis Center Tuesday was met with approval by a group serving the OFWs, but the center may not be implemented anytime soon.

The Davao City Council approved on Tuesday the ordinance proposed by Councilor Bai Hundrea Cassandra Advincula that amended the 2008 OFW Center Ordinance to expand the services by establishing the center under the City Social Services and Development Office.

The crisis center is mandated to focus on the protection of the rights, interests, welfare, and development of the based left-behind households of documented OFWs that are also residents of Davao City.

Another part of its mandate is also for the city government to link to various government agencies for protection, crisis assistance, and welfare of left-behind households. It will also designate hotlines and social media platforms to easily address the concerns of the public.

But Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in her radio program Wednesday that the city government will not be able to allocate funds for the operation and construction of the OFW Center during her term until May 2022.

The mayor explained that the city government has limited time and will focus on the line up of projects that they had already started, and will leave new projects like the OFW center for the next administration.

“We just had a meeting, some projects will not be pursued under my term. We have to be realistic with the timeline,” Duterte-Carpio said.

But Inorisa Elento, executive director of the Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions, Inc (MMCEAI), said they would still hope and push for the city government to be able to see the importance of the OFW center and implement the ordinance.

MMCEAI is now monitoring 54 cases of abuse against left-behind members of families of Davaoeňo OFWs as of November 7, 2020. Seven of these cases include abuses against the children of OFWs, two of them are sexual abuse.

Groups like MMCEAI have been calling the city government to fully implement the nearly decade-old OFW Ordinance in Davao City since it was passed in 2008 to be able to cater to the concerns of the families left in the city.

Elento said the 2008 ordinance was not fully implemented because of “redundancy with the policies of the national government agencies.”

The country has deployed 2.3 million OFWs according to the government survey, although the International Labor Organization cites there are 10 million Filipino migrant workers. Such workers leave their families who face various social and economic problems.

“If the (local) government will help it’s not necessarily called duplication, it’s an augmentation whatever is the services and program of the national government,” Elento said. (davaotoday.com)

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