To beef up OFW welfare and protection Six POLO personnel leaves for the Middle East Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced the departure of six new overseas personnel, four of whom are women, for their tour of duty in Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in the Middle East. “As we have announced, the first batch of female overseas personnel will man the POLOs and assist in the POLOs’ daily operation. They will be stationed in Jordan; Riyadh and Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and Kuwait. More female welfare officers will be deployed before the end of the month,” said Baldoz. Baldoz said that the female overseas personnel, one of whom is a labor attaché, are tasked to attend to the welfare and protection of all OFWs, including distressed female overseas Filipino workers. The overseas personnel who have left for their respective posts were Labor Attache Florenda Herra, Jordan; Assistant Labor Attaches Firma Bantillan, Riyadh; Rosario Mangahas, Jeddah; Olivia Macawili, Jeddah; and Angelita Narvaez, Kuwait; Labor Attache Cesar Chavez, Jr., Kuwait; and Assistant Labor Attache Jaybee John Baginda, Riyadh. The labor and employment chief explained that the DOLE utilized the One-DOLE System in determining the qualifications of labor attaches, welfare officers, administrative staff, and local hires, including their selection, appointment , and deployment. The system prescribes stricter criteria, training, and immersion requirements prior to deployment. “The deployment of female overseas personnel to POLOs is pursuant to the 22-point Labor and Employment Agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III, which directs the DOLE to review the continued deployment of workers to countries which are high-and medium-risk areas, as well the continued deployment of workers in high-risk occupations, and to work with the department of Foreign Affairs in transforming the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) into centers of care and service for overseas workers,” echoed Baldoz. She also added that 18 labor attaches and two welfare officers have attended an intensified gender sensitivity training workshop to ensure proper addressing of gender needs and issues in the POLOs. The gender sensitivity training workshop has been part of the pre-departure orientation seminars (PDOS) that a labor attaché or welfare officer undertakes before deployment. The participants, most of whom are to be assigned in the Middle East, were at the final stages of preparation for their deployment. END/Let Maring

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