The government remains committed to make overseas employment “a question of choice rather than a matter of necessity,” Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today said during the observance of the 17th Migrant Workers Day.

At the same time, Binay, the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Concerns, said government officials are “obligated to ensure that our overseas workers enjoy adequate protection and responsive service from the concerned government agencies and offices that they rightly deserve.”

The Vice President said OFWs make up 10 percent of the country’s population, making the Philippines one of the largest labor sending countries in Asia.

He also thanked all migrant workers for their contributions to national development.

“Ang bawat Pilipino ay may kakayanang magtagumpay sa ano mang larangan, saan man siya naroroon. At sa natatanging araw na ito, ating ginugunita ang kabayanihan at sakripisyo ng ating milyung-milyong mga OFW at pinapasalamatan natin sila sa lahat ng kanilang iniambag sa pag-unlad ng ating bansa,” he said.

The Vice President also said OFWs “have helped shape all the nations that host them. At the same time, they have become essential contributors in paving the way for our country’s economic growth.”

During his working visit to the United States, Binay previously met with a group of Filipino teachers and professionals who were victims of illegal recruitment by agencies based in the Philippines and the US.

He assured them that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) will review their complaints and file the necessary cases against those behind their recruitment.

He also visited the Filipino Workers Resource Center in Kuala Lumpur where he talked with 19 victims of illegal recruitment who arrived in Malaysia via Tawi-Tawi and Sandakan in Sabah.

“I encouraged them to execute affidavits against their recruiters so we can file the necessary charges upon our return to Manila. The embassy has assured me that all the 19 will be returning to the Philippines upon completion of the necessary exit documents,” the Vice President said upon his arrival in the country Tuesday.