Philippine Actor Cesar Montano Vows to Help OFWs

May. 02, 2007

Zamboanga City–Expressing his gratitude to Overseas
Filipino Workers (OFWs) who gave the Philippines $10
billion worth of remittances in 2005, Team Unity
Senatorial Candidate Cesar Montano said that he will
help ease the lives of OFWs and their families if he
gets elected in the Senate. The OFWs are the
lifeline of the country. It is just right that we
give them the better treatment that they deserve, he

Montano aims to enhance protection due the migrants
in the three stages that all OFWs must pass: before,
during, and after the work abroad. He identified the
issues that surround an OFWs application process like
exorbitant placement costs, illegal recruitment, and
bureaucratic entanglements. We must cut the
unreasonable expenses absorbed by an OFW and their
families by getting rid of extortion and
under-the-table transactions, he said of the expenses
incurred by OFWs. He also said that if there is a
need, he will amend the Migrant Workers Act to
increase the criminal and financial liabilities of
illegal recruiters, both licensed and unlicensed.
Lastly, though he acknowledged that not much can be
done about the paper requirements since most are
necessary, he said that he would ask for the
improvement in the quality and speed of service of
government offices like the OWWA, DFA and POEA. If
getting the papers will be cheaper and easier, we can
avoid having Filipino TNTs abroad, he added.
For the problems encountered during an OFWs stint at
the worksite like contract substitution, abuse, wage
cuts, unfair rates and discrimination, Montano said
actions regarding this are up to the respective
Filipino Embassies in the OFWs workplace but he said
he would encourage the executive branch to make the
ties better between the Philippines and the
destination countries of OFWs so as to avoid any such
incident. They need to report any forms of abuses
immediately to the embassies and consulates to prevent
them from escalating. We must protect the rights of
our countrymen, especially our female OFWs, he said.
Key to this, Montano said is for the Philippine
government to forge more bilateral agreements with the
host countries with special focus on guaranteeing the
rights of the OFWs.
According to him, government should also craft
measures for a reintegration program for the OFWs to
adjust with Filipino life better when they come back
from abroad. Montano is not only concerned with
economic reintegration but with social reintegration
as well. Most OFWs become disoriented with our
country after coming back. Their kids, who may have
been very little when they left, do not recognize
them. Government should foresee such problems and
treat it as a responsibility to handle so as to
prevent any form of maladjustment in the part of any
overseas worker, Montano added.
But he clarified that though he would give
legislative help to OFWs if elected as senator, he
would still see to it that the country also provides
plenty of opportunity for the labor force so that they
will not be forced to leave the country and their
families. He values strong family ties, and would
rather have the Filipinos working in the Philippines
than abroad to avoid having broken families. We
should develop our own industries here. We should see
to it that those who want to work abroad have a hard
time deciding to because of the opportunities that
they will miss in our own country, Montano remarked.

Reference: Arnel F. de Guzman
Media Officer
Cel. No.: 0917-834-2266

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