House approves OFW handbook measure

The guide aims to make Filipino migrant workers fully aware of their rights and responsibilities

Manila: After the Senate approved a bill mandating the government to provide handbooks to Filipino migrant workers in February, the House of Representatives has followed suit and passed its own version of the measure.


The House committee on overseas workers affairs on Wednesday approved a substitute bill seeking the creation of a handbook on the rights and responsibilities of migrant workers.

The “Handbook for OFWs Act of 2018” was co-authored by Rep. Rogelio “Ruel” Pacquiao and 16 other representatives.

The guide aims to make Filipino migrant workers fully aware of their rights and responsibilities as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

In February a similar measure, Senate Bill 192 wrote by Ruel’s brother, Senator Manuel “Manny” Pacquiao, was approved at the Senate.

With both chambers having approved their respective versions of the OFW Handbook measure, lawmakers from the two legislative bodies are expected to come up with a unified bill which will then be subject to President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval.

The House bill mandates the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to develop, publish, disseminate and update periodically a handbook for migrant workers. The guide should be in consonance with Philippine laws as well as with existing labour and social laws “of the countries of destinations.”

The handbook intends to not just protect but also guarantee the rights of OFWs and seeks to complement the worker education programme of various Philippine government agencies involved in job migrations

It intends to make the workers aware of the benefits and drawbacks of working overseas and seeks to provide the necessary information for their reintegration into Philippine society.

The measure mandates the POEA to provide a comprehensive “gender-sensitive” Pre-employment Orientation Seminars that will discuss not just the prevention of illegal recruitment but discuss the content of the handbook on the rights and responsibilities of migrant workers.

The handbook will written in words that can be easily understood by the reader and with translation in local language as may be necessary.

The bill likewise seeks to modify Republic Act No. 8042, otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995,” as amended.

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