The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to assist distressed overseas Filipinos and their children through its Social Welfare Attaches’ deployed in selected diplomatic posts such as in Malaysia, Kuwait, Qatar, Hongkong, Dubai in United Arab Emirates, Jeddah and Riyadh in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The deployment of social welfare attaches’ is pursuant to Executive Order 287 Series of 2004, “Directing the Deployment/Posting of Social Welfare Attachés in Selected Diplomatic Posts” with large concentration of Overseas Filipino Workers and by Republic Act 10022 or an Act Amending Republic Act No. 8042, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 which provides the mandate to improve the country’s standard of protection and promotion of the welfare of overseas Filipinos and their families.
The social welfare attachés help migrant Filipinos and other overseas Filipino nationals who are in crisis situation and in need of special protection especially for irregular and distressed OFWs, such as victims of sexual and physical abuse, maltreatment, mistreatment, trafficking, marital conflicts and non- marital relationships and children who were abandoned and needing special protection.
Based on the reports of the Commission of Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in 2014, there are over 10.24 million overseas Filipinos in 197 countries and territories. These are composed of regular migrants, temporary residents, and irregular workers whose stay overseas is employment-related and who are expected to return at the end of their work contracts. Overseas employment stays as one of the top employment for most of the Filipinos.
Services of attaches’
The services provided by the social welfare attaches’ include Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS), such as the provision of family food packs, transportation, toiletries, medical, clothing, financial, psycho-social processing such as counseling, play therapy for children, emotional healing/value inculcation sessions, critical incident stress debriefing and pre-marriage/ marriage counseling.
The psychosocial services are the distinct and valuable contribution of the social welfare attachés as a regular member of the One-Country Team Approach (OCTA) at the Philippine Embassies/Consulates through the complementation and augmentation of services.
There are also return and reintegration services such as airport and airfare assistance during repatriation; temporary shelters; after care assistance and referrals/networking to partner agencies and in coordination with Local Government Unit for other support services in the places of origin of the clients;
From 2017 to November 2018, the Department has assisted a total of 33,692 overseas Filipinos. The top three countries with the most number of assisted overseas Filipinos are Malaysia (8,777), Jeddah (7,755), and Riyadh (4221). Of this number, 21,122 are females and 12,570 are males. Around 8,197 children and 1,429 youth are included among those assisted.
Repatriating undocumented children
For undocumented children, they are immediately provided with the proper care and attention, including temporary shelter, food, medical assistance, clothing/personal effects, counseling, and psycho-social interventions, upon repatriation to the Philippines while the Department exerts efforts to locate and reunite them with their families or relatives. If ever that there are no identified immediate relatives, the repatriated minor is admitted in DSWD temporary shelter or licensed/accredited child caring agency and for eventual identification of appropriate alternative parental care or through adoption or foster care. ###