President Rodrigo Duterte greets guests during the ‘Araw ng Pasasalamat’ (thanksgiving day) for overseas Filipino workers at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on July 12, 2019. (Albert Alcain/Presidential Photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday vowed to fulfill another key campaign promise – a separate Cabinet-level department to handle overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) by December.

Speaking at the day of thanksgiving for OFWs at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, Duterte said the department would stop “horrendous charges” imposed by labor recruiters.

He said OFWs would also have their own hospital and police attaché, apart from the existing Overseas Filipino Bank launched in January 2018. Seafarers will have a “marine bureau” under the new department.

“Government supervision and control because what has happened and has been happening is not acceptable to the Filipino now,” the president said.

Duterte said OFWs should be able to go home and find everything “okay” in the Philippines “give or take 10 years.”

Duterte’s former aide, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, has filed Senate Bill 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019.

The measure will create the Department of Overseas Filipinos “to serve as the umbrella agency to specifically address all the issues and concerns of Filipinos abroad and their families, to afford them full protection, promote their full and just employment, mitigate the social costs back home, and serve as a channel to address OFW issues and grievances,” Go said in a statement on Saturday.

The functions of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration, the Office of Migrant Workers’ Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Commission on Filipino Overseas and the International Labor Affairs Bureau will be transferred to the new department, he said. (