DFA urged: Hire high-caliber lawyers to handle OFW-relates cases

Manila, Philippines –┬áSenator Raffy Tulfo urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to strengthen its free legal services for distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) by hiring high-caliber lawyers.

During the Senate hearing of the Committee on Migrant Workers regarding several bills seeking to strengthen financial and legal assistance to OFWs on Tuesday, the newbie senator said that the effective way to improve the low acquittal rate of cases involving Filipinos working abroad is by ensuring that they have good representation.

Tulfo, Chairperson of the Committee of Migrant Workers, said: “Dapat ay magaling at dekalibreng abogado ang kukunin ng DFA, yung kayang ipanalo ang kaso.”

Also during the said hearing, among the topics that were discussed was the supposed zero acquittal of OFW-related cases handled by DFA retained lawyers from January to June 2022.

Tulfo likewise asked DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega to ensure that offices abroad catering to migrant workers would operate on the expected 8 working hours per day, or more, to cater to OFWs in need of assistance.

The senator shared that some OFWs he met during a trip abroad complained that DFA employees abroad only worked “half day” and would only entertain them at certain hours supposedly due to some “paper works”

The Senator from Isabela and Davao maintained that there should still be employees responsible to assist OFW the whole day even if there are a lot of papers that need to be processed, especially during emergency circumstances.

In response, de Vega said he will look into the issue and call all necessary embassies abroad.

Ultimately, Tulfo said that his Committee “will be focusing on laws that will make the prosecution of illegal recruitment cases faster and also the wise management of the AKSYON fund such that legal and other financial aid are given to those OFWs in need.”