This is to express our gratitude to a Senate that is turning out to be increasingly sensitive to issues concerning overseas Filipino workers.
The recent approval by the Senate of a bill extending the validity of Philippine passports from five years to 10 years confirms this observation. Once enacted, this legislation will greatly benefit the country’s over 2.4 million OFWs.
Past administrations merely paid lip service to the concerns of OFWs who found it very burdensome and difficult even just to arrange the trip to their work-destination. Worse, on-site problems of the OFWs were barely given attention.
The good news is Senate President Koko Pimentel is seriously working on the creation of a separate department to specifically attend to OFW concerns. This could not have come at a better time. With the rush to build more infrastructure to make the country more competitive in attracting foreign investors, the $50 billion our OFWs send to the country yearly is more needed now.
If the country’s leaders can spend so much political energy on the issue on mining which contributed less than 2.1 percent to the economy between 2000 and 2015, the more reason they should walk the extra mile to make life better for our more than 2.4 million OFWs. It’s reassuring to hear that this is what the Senate is now doing.
The OFWs are not only heroes. They are the life-support system of our economy.
JAMES THOMAS E. VELOSO, Cityland Pasong Tamo Tower, 2210 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City
Editorial cartoon, May 23, 2017