President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday called on Congress to accelerate the passage of a bill forming a cabinet department for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

In his recorded public address aired on Tuesday, Duterte noted that a government agency dedicated for OFWs was one his promises during his campaign for the presidency.

“I’d like to hurry up Congress in this. One of my proposals during the campaign period was the creation of Overseas Filipino. Iba ‘yung Department of Labor. It takes care of the internal mga trabahante dito, ‘yung nasa labas. So I proposed in the coming months and I hope to come up with a Department of Overseas Workers,” he said.

In March, the House or Representatives passed on third reading House Bill 5832 or the ”Department of Filipinos Overseas Act,” which seeks the regulation of OFW deployment, protection of overseas Filipinos’ rights and promotion of their welfare.

Duterte also raised the possibility of forming a separate agency for seafarers.

“Iyan ang ano ko sa mga kababayan ko na naghihirap sa labas that there will be a more thorough review sa policies sa — for your protection and that somebody should look after you,” the president said.

“It might not really be perfect, it might not really be as good as one would expect initially, but we would improve later. And so I would have to create this kaagad, ASAP ito,” he added. John Ezekiel J. Hirro