On February 22, 2019, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11227 (R.A. 11227) known as “An Act Mandating the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) To Develop, Publish, Disseminate and Update a Handbook On the Rights and Responsibilities of Migrant Workers, Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No. 8042, Otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995”, as Amended by Republic Act No. 10022”.

R.A. 11227 – A Handbook for OFWs Act of 2018 mandates the publication and distribution of a handbook for land- and sea-based OFWs to serve as their guide in asserting their rights and responsibilities. It will be given to them free of charge.

Objectives of R.A. 11227 – A Handbook for OFWs Act of 2018

R.A. 11227 aims to achieve the following objectives:

To empower every overseas Filipino worker (OFW) by making them fully aware of their duties and responsibilities;

To complement the worker evaluation program of various agencies;

To provide a basic information on the labor and living conditions in the country of their destination;

To make the workers well aware of the benefits and drawbacks of working overseas; and

To provide necessary information on their reintegration into the Philippine society.

Mechanics of R.A. 11227

Under the new law R.A. 11227, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) are tasked to “promote the welfare and protect the rights of migrant workers”.

The DOLE “must see to it that labor and social welfare laws in the foreign countries are fairly applied to migrant workers and whenever applicable, to other overseas Filipinos including the grant of legal assistance and the referral to proper medical centers or hospitals.”

POEA, among others, shall also inform OFWs of “their rights as human beings and instruct and guide the workers how to assert their rights and provide the available mechanism to redress violation of their rights”.

POEA, in collaboration with other enforcement agencies, is also the lead agency in developing, publishing, disseminating and updating the handbook for OFWs.  It shall also be responsible for the implementation of the intensified program against illegal recruitment activities.

The new law was published on March 2, 2019 in the Official Gazette and will take effect fifteen days thereafter. You can view or download the full text of R.A. 11227 below:

The Handbook for OFWs Act of 2018

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Duterte signs into law OFW Handbook bill – The Philippine Star

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