If he wins the upcoming national elections, presidential frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte vows he will prioritize the concerns of OFWs.
This was his declaration last May 1, Labor Day, during a political rally at Liwasang Bonifacio. He reiterated his promise to create a separate department for OFWs which would be a one-stop shop. This way, he said, applicants will not have a difficult time going to man different agencies. As the mayor of Davao City, Duterte has gained a reputation for streamlining government process since he said he “hated to see Filipinos lining up and waiting.”
During his speech, Duterte motioned to the Manila Post Office building behind him and said it could be used for his planned OFW department.
“Like this building, no one is using it except for mail services. I will transfer them to a small building. I will make this the OFW department, I will give importance to the life, blood, and sweat of OFWs,” he proposed.
In addition, Duterte reminded everyone that he was the first presidential candidate to say he will end contractualization. “It must stop immediately,” he emphasized.
Some of those who heard Duterte’s speech agreed with his points.
Rodrigo Bersabe, a worker employed by a pipe company, shared with Rappler “We believe in Duterte because he is the first presidential candidate to promise an end to contractualization… In my view, the others just copied him so the workers will also have hope in them. But I’m a longtime voter. All the politicians I’ve seen just make promises. When they are in power, nothing changes,”
Meanwhile, a seafarer who wanted his name undisclosed lamented in Filipino:
“We older seafarers are not hired back by the companies because they say they have a limit. That is not favorable to us. So we said, all of us seafarers have united, we will vote for Duterte.”