Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022 called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to act as “one family” in advancing the interests of the Filipino community, particularly of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“DFA should act as one family. We should use our individual gifts -- the embassies, the consulates, the Department of Foreign Affairs -- for the Filipino community, and not only for our personal advancement. Our interests should stick with the interest of OFWs,” Cayetano said as an omnibus manifestation to the DFA during the Commission on Appointments’ hearing for career officials on Wednesday.

Cayetano said since the newly established Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is still in transition, the DFA should still assist and look after the welfare of OFWs, recommending countries that are safer for deployment and where Filipinos are respected.

“So rather than parati na lang tayong namomroblema sa mga areas na vulnerable ang ating OFWs, humanap tayo ng mga bansa na maganda mag-sweldo, na tao ang turing sa atin at hindi alipin, na ang turing po talaga sa Pilipino ay with pride and talagang kasama in the building of their nation,” he said.

(So rather than always having problems in the areas where our OFWs are vulnerable, let’s find countries that pay well, that treat us as human beings and not as slaves, that treat Filipinos with pride and really include them in the building of their nation.)

Cayetano also reiterated his proposal for the DFA to consider having a deputy director for finance and passports.

“May I reiterate looking into having a permanent deputy director on finance and maybe for passports?” he told Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo. “Human relations matter, so if you have a permanent liaison or permanent budget officer or finance officer dealing with the Senate and the House, you would surely get better returns.”

A former Foreign Affairs decretary, Cayetano also appealed to the government to take care of DFA officials posted abroad.

“Mahirap magkaroon ng representation kung tingin sa atin ay kawawa (It is difficult to gain representation if they look at us with pity)... Taking care of the family is taking care of the country. You are taking care of Filipinos abroad, but you should also be taking care of yourself,” he said.