The Joint Manual of Operations in Providing Assistance to Migrant Workers and Other Filipinos—which Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, and Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin signed yesterday—lists down the various services which the DFA, DOLE, DSWD, and DOH will seamlessly provide to overseas Filipinos in a convergent manner.
In a press release she issued yesterday after the signing of the landmark document in a ceremony at the Labor Governance and Learning Center of the Blas F. Ople Hall at the DOLE Executive Building in Intramuros, Secretary Baldoz said the services are summed up into four basic categories, namely: basic assistance to nationals and legal services of the DFA; labor services of the DOLE; social welfare services of the DSWD; and health services of the DOH.
“Section 6 of the Joint Manual enumerates these services which each of the DFA, DOLE, DSWD, and DOH separately provides. These services address a wide range of problem areas and needs of migrant Filipinos and their families,” said Baldoz.
“The importance of having a listing of these services is that it identifies the primary agency responsible for the delivery of a particular service so it is clear. This will make for smoother coordination and faster service-delivery,” she added.
The basic assistance to nationals (ATN) services provided by the DFA include as enumerated in the Joint Manual are as follows: repatriation, particularly of irregular/undocumented Overseas Filipinos; shipment of remains and personal belongings; blood money negotiations; verification of whereabouts and condition; assistance in criminal cases; assistance in immigration cases; assistance to victims of illegal recruitment and trafficking in persons; assistance to kidnapping and hostage victims; prison and hospital visitation, court hearings, and consular mission; and other types of necessary services, as determined by the Head of Post or Head of Office.
On the other hand, the legal services of the DFA are assistance to detained and/or convicted OFWs, as may be appropriate; provision of services of lawyer/counsel; and basic information to walk-in clients on the host country’s laws, and criminal and legal procedures.
The DOLE, through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, will provide assistance in employment-related complaints; welfare assistance to include medical referrals, non-performance of family obligations, ascertaining whereabouts, runaways, and other similar grievances; repatriation, particularly of documented OFWs; legal assistance, as applicable; death benefits, end-of-service benefits, and insurance and other benefits arising from the employer-employee relationship; and counseling on non-performance of family obligations.
The DSWD will provide the following social welfare services: psycho-social services, including counseling; psycho-social processing (PSP); stress debriefing; value inculcation/emotional healing; play therapy; and pre-marriage and marriage counselling.
The Joint Manual also provides that the DSWD shall also render assistance to individuals in crisis situations, particularly to irregular/undocumented overseas workers; provide hygiene supplies; transportation assistance; local transportation assistance; medical assistance; capability-building activities; alternative parental care services (adoption, foster care, legal guardianship); referral services to concerned agency of host government, non-government organizations, or other individuals/groups; and social protection services for women and children in need of special protection, and other vulnerable groups.
For its part, the DOH shall provide medical services coordination and conduct medical Missions, as necessary.
Baldoz said the Joint Manual also outlines in Section 7 other onsite services to Filipinos overseas, such as passport application/renewal/extension; authentication of documents, attestation, and notary services; marriage application and solemnization; report of birth, report of marriage, report of death; issuance of travel documents; labor documentation; issuance of Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC); OWWA membership enrolment/renewal; and information and education, such as post-arrival orientation.