THE Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said it is preparing to streamline the process for deploying overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), after consulting with the agencies overseeing the current process.

ARTA met online last week with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Department of Labor and Employment, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration, and the International Labor Affairs Bureau.

POEA had presented its processes for licensing employment agencies that deploy land-based workers and seamen.

ARTA Director-General Jeremiah B. Belgica said that the accreditation of manpower agencies and the rest of the OFW deployment process will be streamlined without compromising safety.

“Streamlining neither mean(s) removing all safety measures nor completely deregulating a system. It simply means that we need to restructure the process to retain the requirements and steps truly necessary and eliminate those which are redundant and simply baseless in law or in practice,” he said.

OFWs are losing their jobs during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, with 135,000 repatriated as of Aug. 15. Among these, 52,600 are seafarers and 82,651 are land-based workers.

The Labor department in June said that it expects around 400,000 OFWs to be displaced by the pandemic.

The Asian Development Bank said that it estimates a worst-case scenario of a 20.2% decline in remittances, or $5.789 billion in lost remittances, assuming global economies normalize after a year of pandemic containment efforts. — Jenina P. Ibañez