Legarda Urges OFWs to Vote; Sees Need to Strengthen Their Welfare Fund

April 13, 2013

Reelectionist Sen. Loren Legarda today expressed hope that the month-long voting for overseas Filipino workers will proceed smoothly in all the voting precincts worldwide as she called on OFWs to exercise their right to vote.

“Overseas Filipinos should take advantage of the opportunity to choose their next leaders, and to choose wisely,” Legarda, co-author of the Overseas Absentee Voting Law of 2003, said. “Hopefully this time, the 975,263 registered Filipino voters overseas will exercise their right to vote today up to May 13,” she noted.

Legarda said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should see to it that the registered overseas Filipino voters are adequately assisted as they cast their votes in Philippine embassies and consulates worldwide.

Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, made the call as she assured OFWs that their welfare would remain in her priority agenda in her next term. “Strengthening the OWWA Charter and ensuring that the OWWA fund which is built on the hard labor of our Filipino workers abroad is safely invested and plowed back for their needs is my promise. Also, I will create an information desk for their families here on entrepreneurial ventures that will multiply their earnings and allow our OFWs to retire comfortably,” Legarda emphasized.

Legarda has been responsible for the passage of laws promoting the rights and welfare of OFWs and seafarers. Through the Senator’s efforts, the Senate has concurred in the ratification of treaties and international agreements that promote the protection of the rights of overseas Filipinos, including the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) for the protection of the rights of seafarers; the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) with the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and China, which establish a legal framework that obligates Contracting Parties to assist in the investigation, prosecution, and suppression of criminal offenses and proceedings related to criminal matters, the Consular Agreement with the People’s Republic of China, which provides assistance to Filipino nationals in China, and the Convention on Social Security between the Philippines and Spain, which ensures that Filipinos in Spain are secured upon retirement.