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The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), led by Undersecretary Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio Jr., welcomed Principal Secretary Roseline Kathure Njogu and her delegation from the State Department for Diaspora Affairs of the Republic of Kenya in a meeting on 09 August 2023 at the DOLE Office in Intramuros, Manila.

The meeting was requested by the Kenyan delegation to learn the Philippine experience of managing the Filipino diaspora particularly the evolution of labor migration policies, strategies and concrete programs and services provided both onsite and offsite to protect the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers. The exchange of notes also covered potential collaborative areas for capacity building between the two countries.

Undersecretary Bitonio emphasized the Philippine government's commitment to safeguarding and elevating the protection of rights and welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and integrating migration into the national economic and employment policies. He discussed continuing efforts to establish a comprehensive social protection mechanism throughout the labor migration journey including collaborative efforts of financial institutions in facilitating remittances between OFWs and their families. He also highlighted the distinct roles played by the newly established Department of Migrant Workers and Department of Labor and Employment.

Since the enactment of Republic Act 11641, which created the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and incorporated the roles of seven agencies with mandates on overseas employment, DOLE has continued to fulfill its evolving role in labor migration governance. Aside from enforcement and monitoring of international treaties on labor, it also takes part in the multilateral labor negotiation and implementation of labor components of trade agreements.

Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) OIC-Executive Director Jeanette T. Damo gave a presentation on diverse programs and services designed to support OFW returnees and families left behind which include skills training, employment facilitation services (labor market information, jobs fair) and different pathways of reintegrating the OFWs back to the mainstream of local economy.

The Kenyan delegation included Director of Diaspora Affairs Lawrence Muriithi Waweru, Deputy Director of Diaspora Affairs Irene Wangari Karari, Charge D’ Affaires Jackson Nyagaka Onkoba and Commercial Attaché Maurine Atieno Abungu stationed at Kenya Embassy in Jakarta.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Chelsea Nicole Pineda
Employment Research Division
Institute for Labor Studies
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