The regional office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Association (Owwa)-Davao is currently proposing a new policy that prohibits parents with young children to work abroad.
The proposal came after the tragic incident when a 2-year-old boy named Earl John Cagalitan died because of physical abuse by his relatives. Earl, the youngest child of single mother and OFW Erlinda Cagalitan was left in the care of her nephew and his wife while she worked in Bahrain.
Eduardo Bellido, regional director of OWWA-Davao, said that they have received a lot of reports where OFWs, especially mothers, are leaving their kids, with some as young as 1-month-old, to seek overseas employment opportunities.
“This is another aspect that we are trying to look into, we should not only focus on the OFW’s welfare alone but also to their families especially the children who are left behind here. Maybe we can craft a policy disallowing mothers from working abroad in cases that they still have children who are still three years old and below,” remarked Bellido.
Bellido hopes that local government units in the region will seriously consider passing the proposed ordinance.
In Compostela Valley (Comval), Bellido said that there is an existing ordinance that says parents with young children are not permitted to leave the country.
“This ordinance in Comval can be replicated if seen viable,” said the regional director.
Meanwhile, Bellido said that he has been instructed by Silvestre Bello III, secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to assist Erlinda financially and so she was given P50,000 cash assistance, a livelihood and training, and a psycho-social counseling.
On the other hand, President Rodrigo Duterte has earlier expressed concerns about the growing cases of child abuse in the country. He promised he will look closer on the cases and will discuss it with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) soon.