The House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs will be conducting public consultations and hearings to discuss measures that will support President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.’s programs for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), especially those returning to the country.

Kabayan Partylist Rep. Ron S. Salo, chair of the committee, said he received instructions from Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez for his panel to continue working during the break to act on pending bills that aim to benefit the welfare of OFWs.

“Upon the instruction of Speaker Romualdez, my panel will be holding a comprehensive public consultation and hearing in order to gather input and insights from various stakeholders in the development of robust plans and policies to help the Marcos administration better support returning OFWs,” Salo said.

“This is a testament to the genuine desire of the House of Representatives to effectively fulfill its mandate and responsibility to the Filipino people amid all the political noise. We have a job to do and we will not be distracted in our efforts of promoting the welfare of our OFWs,” he added.

The House of Representatives is on a month-long break that started Sept. 28 and will resume sessions on Nov. 6.

Speaker Romualdez gave all standing committees the authority to conduct hearings during the break.

“This directive is made more relevant in light of the repatriation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) amidst the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. As our brave OFWs return to our homeland, often after enduring various challenges abroad, we believe it is our duty to provide them with comprehensive support and assistance,” Salo explained.

Salo said his panel will look into possible legislation to protect OFWs and ensure their better reintegration into society in sync with the Marcos administration’s programs for the welfare of overseas Filipinos.

“We will begin by conducting a briefing with the relevant government agencies such as the DMW, OWWA, DFA, and TESDA, among others, on the existing government assistance to OFWs. From there, we will formulate additional policies and make existing ones more efficient and effective,” Salo stated.

He said one possible proposal to focus on is a pension system for OFWs that will be jointly paid for by their employers and the OFWs themselves, as well as retraining at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and other similar programs of the government.

“I consider a pension system for OFWs as a lasting solution to the main concerns/needs of OFWs. This will provide income security and additional social protection for our modern day heroes,” Salo explained.

“As heroes of modern times, our OFWs deserve more from their government. As such, we will also be looking at legislation that will extend financial aid and scholarship programs for their dependents, for their families,” Salo stated.

“We will do our best to pass more legislation that will benefit our OFWs. And the leadership of Speaker Romualdez is committed to making this happen to support the Marcos administration’s efforts in helping our OFWs,” Salo concluded.