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June 16, 1980, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas was Established.

The Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) was established on 16 June 1980 through Batas Pambansa 79. It is an agency of the Philippine Government under the Office of the President tasked to promote and uphold the interests, rights and welfare of overseas Filipinos and strengthen their ties with the Motherland.

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Section 2 of the act defines “Filipinos Overseas” as “Filipinos who are permanent residents abroad, including Filipino emigrants who are either already citizens of foreign countries or are still Filipino citizens awaiting naturalization, recognition, or admission, and their descendants.”

Prior to the establishment of CFO, a series of policy pronouncements were enacted. Presidential Decree No. 442 (Labor Code of the Philippines), was passed in 1974. It created the Overseas Employment Development Board in order to set up a systematic program for the overseas employment of Filipino workers, as well as to register and monitor emigrants leaving for various countries. There was a steady increase in migration four hears from 1974-1978. This surge in migration necessitated the establishment of an independent unit which would constitute a local support network solely for Filipino emigrants. In June 1978, Presidential Decree No. 1412 was passed the Office of Emigrant Affairs (OEA). The decree specifically identified Filipino emigrants as the recipients of its services.

The CFO primarily registers and provides pre-departure orientation seminars to emigrants. It promotes, among other functions, the transfer of technology and material and financial contributions from overseas to development activities in underserved communities all over the Philippines.

The agency also provides younger generations of Filipinos overseas with opportunities to learn Philippine history, culture, institutions and the Filipino language.

As provided for by Batas Pambansa 79, the Powers and function of CFO are the following:

A. Provide advice and assistance to the President (Prime Minister) of the Philippines and the Batasang Pambansa in the formulation of policies and measures affecting Filipinos overseas;

B. Formulate, in coordination with agencies concerned, an integrated program for the promotion of the welfare of Filipinos overseas for implementation by suitable existing agencies;

C. Coordinate and monitor the implementation of such an integrated program;

D. Initiate and directly undertake the implementation of special projects and programs, whenever necessary, to promote the welfare of Filipinos overseas with respect to their
interests and activities in the Philippines;

E. Serve as a forum for preserving and enhancing the social, economic and cultural ties of
Filipinos overseas with their motherland;

F. Provide liaison services to Filipinos overseas with appropriate government and private
agencies in the transaction of business and similar ventures in the Philippines;

G. Promulgate rules and regulations to carry out the objectives of this Act;

H. Call upon any agency of the Government, including government-owned or controlled
corporations, to render whatever assistance is needed in the pursuance of the objectives
of this Act; and

I. Perform such other related functions as may be directed by the President (Prime
Minister) or assigned by law.


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