Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence H. Fortun — WWW.CONGRESS.GOV.PH

A CONGRESSMAN on Friday renewed his call for the creation of a Department of Filipinos Overseas and Foreign Employment after the latest tragedies involving Filipino workers in Kuwait and Singapore.

Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence H. Fortun sought the swift passage of House Bill 5832, which he co-authored, as soon as sessions resume on Jan. 20.

The agency for Filipino workers overseas would make the bureaucracy more efficient and streamline government functions to protect their rights, Mr. Fortun said.

The lawmaker also said the Philippines should abandon the market for household service workers because it has created a “very wrong impression” for Filipino workers overseas.

Mr. Fortun said most Filipino housemaids are skilled and should be trained to upgrade their skills for jobs in the hotel and tourism markets worldwide “where work is dignified and decently compensated.” “It is time for our country to stop sending domestic workers abroad.”

The body of a second Filipina who died in a car crash in Singapore arrived in the Philippines on Friday and was immediately brought to Tuguegarao City in Cagayan province, the Foreign Affairs department said.

Abigail D. Leste’s mother and children received her remains. The other was Arlyn P. Nucos, whose body was brought home on Jan. 1.

Both died in a car accident at the Lucky Plaza in Singapore on Dec. 29. Meanwhile, Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, a domestic helper in Kuwait, also died last month after her employer allegedly beat her to death.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III has said the government would stop sending household workers to Kuwait. — Genshen L. Espedido and Charmaine A. Tadalan