DFA eyes opening NBI post in UAE for OFWs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — A National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) office may soon be established in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates to aid overseas Filipino workers with their legal cases, a lawmaker said during the budget interpellation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday.

Nueva Ecija Rep. Joseph Violago, the sponsor of the DFA's budget, said it is not easy to establish NBI posts overseas because it needs approval by the host countries, but “right now, NBI and DFA agreed to start with Abu Dhabi as an initial site."

DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo was present at the House of Representatives’ plenary interpellation.

Violago made the statement after OFW party-list Rep. Marissa Magsino raised concerns over incidents of abuse, illegal recruitment, and human trafficking among Filipino workers abroad.

High-profile cases include that of Jullebee Ranara, who was killed by the 17-year-son of her employer in Kuwait in January. The suspect was recently sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

READ: Ranara family displeased with 15-year sentence, DFA eyes increase in damage claims

"Kung mayroon tayong NBI post doon, they will be in partnership doon po sa legal na nag iinvestigate ng kanilang (OFW) mga kaso," Magsino said.

[Translation: If we have an NBI post there, they will be in partnership with the legal team that is investigating the cases of our OFWs.]

She also said OFWs will be assured of a vioice and that the NBI can defend them

Violago said the NBI will provide the terms of reference regarding its role in the foreign service post. It will also conduct bilateral negotiations with the Office of Treaty and Legal Affairs of other countries.