Organized overseas Filipino workers on Wednesday decried the attacks on Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III who, they said, had helped a lot of OFWs who went in distress while deployed overseas.

More than a thousand OFWs trooped to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Intramuros to express full support to Bello and thanked him for the assistance extended to them by the labor chief. The OFWs had come from as far south as Calabarzon provinces and Maguindanao, Davao and Cebu, and as far north as the Ilocos provinces, Cagayan Valley, and the province of Nueva Ecija.

“(Bello) is driven with traits of integrity, honesty and transparency, contrary to the allegations of his detractors,” the groups said.

“He has been focused on his policy agenda of ensuring inclusive growth for us and our families. He has been of great help to President Rodrigo Duterte in attaining his vision for the Filipino workers,” said the groups in their signed manifesto distributed in a rally in front of the DOLE offices.

The manifesto added: “He has been continuously strengthening the protection and security of our OFWs and provide our OFWs with greater accessibility to welfare programs.”

Joylie Recto, Vice President of the Southern OFW Cooperative, said: “Lubos ang aming suporta kay Secretary Bello. Lahat ng paratang sa kanya ay walang katotohanan. Malaki ang naitulong niya sa amin. Marami syang natulungan na gaya namin at maayos na napauwi mula sa Middle East at nabigyan pa ng livelihood assistance.”

“Secretary Bello has been ensuring that DOLE is committed to strictly and equitably implement the law on security of tenure and use the full extent of its regulatory and enforcement power to stop or prevent practices that circumvent it, especially practices like labor-only contracting,” the manifesto added.

Amid unfounded allegations of corruption, the group said Bello is an honest official and a capable leader.

Among the other organized groups that joined the rally for Bello are the Nueva Vizcaya OFW group, Kabayani Association Inc., OFW Association in Laguna, and migrant workers’ associations from Nueva Ecija, Cagayan Valley, Davao, and Cebu.

Various OFW groups are also expected to hold another rally in support of the labor chief in Davao City where more than 2,000 members and their families are expected to join.

END/Paul Ang

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