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Responsive government

The Duterte Administration certainly has the character of honoring its word. Such is the opposite of the “broken promises” character of previous administrations. The current administration is also admired for its fast actions on the people’s concerns.

Even during the campaign period of the May 2016 elections, President Rodrigo Duterte has already made known his intention of serving the Filipino people with a clean and responsive government. He was also clear about his intention of addressing the concerns of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

Barely two month in office, the Duterte Administration has already made concrete changes that benefit our OFWs. One of its initiatives is the establishment of the One-Stop Service Center for OFWs (OSSCO) inside the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) office building in Ortigas. OSSCO houses satellite offices of the 14 government agencies that OFWs need to transact with for their overseas employment.

Aside from the POEA, the agencies that are in the OSSCO include the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, National Bureau of Investigation, Social Security System, Home Development Mutual Fund or PAGIBIG, Philhealth, Professional Regulation Commission, Technical Education, Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and Maritime Industry Authority.

The Center provides the value of ease in the processing of documents needed by OFWs. It also allows OFWs to save on time, money and energy in going to one government office to another to secure their needed permits and documents.

This is definitely a laudable initiative and a good start. We can expect the Duterte Administration, through the Department of Labor, to expand this service. As the optimum use of modern information and communication technology facilitated the implementation of this program, its expanded reach can be expected soon.

The government can look into online application of the needed permits and documents, including the online submission of requirements and payments. Unless physical presence is required, OFWs, particularly those residing outside Metro Manila may be given an option for online processing as well as delivery of documents through courier so that they do not need to travel to Manila. The government can also look into having regional OSSCOs.

This initiative of the Duterte Administration illustrates that if the government is really sincere in serving the people and in working for nothing but the public interest, being a truly clean and responsive government is not “impossible” – it is not even that difficult. (Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate)