February 4, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

DMW for training, help for victims of human trafficking

PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) plans to provide livelihood and retraining programs for job seekers who have been victims of trafficking programs, an official said.

“We are working closely with the State Department (EDA) and Senator Ana Theresia N. Hontiveros-Baraquel’s office to develop possible re-equipment programs for skilled workers and our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been lured by these scammers,” migrant The Undersecretary the worker, Hans Leo J. Cacdac, told BusinessWorld in a Zoom interview.

On November 12, DMW provided 10,000 pesos in cash to workers who were victims of an illegal online recruitment scheme allegedly being run by Chinese offshore companies in Myanmar.

They were initially offered jobs in customer service and tech positions, instead being lured into forging relationships with potential Bitcoin investors through dating apps and other social media platforms.

The 12 victims were rescued in a remote part of Myanmar through a joint operation by Ms. Hontiveros’ office and the DFA.

Meanwhile, the DMW is also planning to expand the newly established OFW Hospital to offer more inpatient services.

The seven-story hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga, was dedicated in July and is set to provide medical services exclusively to OFWs.

It will also serve as the primary referral hospital for repatriated OFWs in need of medical care.

“We want to help our SAWs to reintegrate into the national mainstream and improve services to distressed SAWs,” said Mr. Cacdac.

The DMW is a newly established government agency that will be fully operational within the next year.

Secretary for migrant workers Maria Susana V. Ople said the government plans to deploy more labor attachés in 2023 to ensure the protection of OFWs.

In 2020, the Philippine Statistics Agency (PSA) reported that there were 1.77 million land- and sea-based SAWs, up from 2.18 reported in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic.

Cash remittances from foreign workers rose to $2.84 billion in September from $2.74 billion a year earlier, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.