President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Center at the Versailles Palace, in Barangay Almanza Dos, Daang Hari, Las Piñas City on April 7, 2022. ALBERTO ALCAIN/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he hoped more Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Centers would be established in major cities and areas accessible to OFWs.

During the groundbreaking ceremony of the OFW Center in Las Piñas, Duterte said there was a need for more hubs dedicated to serving OFWs.

“Sana malagay ito sa mga major cities para hindi na magbiyahe ang mga [OFWs] natin. I hope [the government] would be able to improve on all aspects of whatever concerns there are in the life of a migrant worker,” he said.

The president also said he wished OFWs would no longer encounter red tape in processing their documents.

“Ang migrant workers hindi puwede [magbalik-balik, walang pera ‘yan. And it is very tiring because they have no private cars, they have to travel public conveyances, and then they cannot complete the papers pabalik-balik. Iyan ang ayaw ko, ‘yang pabalik-balik,” he said.

Duterte has been pushing for the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos, which aims to provide a more efficient, whole-of-government approach to protect the rights and promote the welfare and interest of overseas Filipinos, since his campaign for presidency.

He signed in December 2021 Republic Act 11641, the law that established the department.

“In recognition of their service and heroism, this administration has remained steadfast in providing the best service it could give to our OFWs,” Duterte said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro