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(Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz issues the following statement on the commentary of Hong Kong legislator Regina Ip Lau Suk-Yee against Filipino household service workers.)

“I am seriously concerned over the reported commentary of Hong Kong lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee against Filipino household service workers (HSWs) in Hong Kong which has stirred international controversy and aroused national indignation. Her reported negative remarks, I believe, is a personal opinion and do not echo the feelings and perceptions of the general Hong Kong populace, neither of the Hong Kong government of which she is identified as an apologist.


“Filipinos are culturally family-centered. We are known to highly value family ties. This trait has defined Filipinos for generations, wherever they are and whatever circumstances they may be in. Filipino women are homemakers, not home wreckers. They also fiercely defend their honor and dignity, as evidenced by the many cases of HSWs risking their lives by running away from employers and seeking shelter in our Filipino Workers Resource Centers because of the immoral behaviour of their employers.


“I acknowledge that some of our OFWs display unacceptable behavior and commit offenses abroad. We certainly do not tolerate this. As Secretary of Labor and Employment, I often remind every OFW to observe high moral standard in their work and lifestyle. But the mistakes of the few should not be misconstrued as reflective of the character of all OFWs.


“To address the issues raised by Ms. Ip, I wish it known that we continue to implement our strict policy on the ethical and legal deployment of HSWs only to labor laws-compliant employers and placing all erring employers and placement agencies  in all countries of OFW destinations under preventive suspension or cancellation of accreditation.


“In Hong Kong, particularly, we continue our “cleansing” the ranks of foreign recruitment agencies (FRAs) by looking at those engaged in the exploitative and abusive practice of excessive collection of fees from OFWs in the guise of service fees from their local counterparts in the Philippines.


“We also continue to implement our return home policy under the National Reintegration Program with a very specific project, “Sa ‘Pinas Ikaw ang Ma’am/Sir” targeted at HSW-teachers who we are encouraging to come home and pursue their teaching careers. In cooperation with the DepEd, we have already placed 10 OFW-teachers in permanent teaching positions this first quarter of 2015, while 45 are expected to teach this coming school year. We still have some 300 teacher-position items allocated by the DepEd to fill-up.


“To ensure that our low- and semi-skilled OFWs are prepared for higher skill-level employment opportunities in the Philippines or abroad, we have brought the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s training, skills assessment, and certification on-site. We have begun this last year in Dubai, and we are preparing to start very soon in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and in other Middle East countries.


“I thank the civil society groups and individuals in Hong Kong and elsewhere who have risen in support and defense of our Filipino HSWs, whose industry and hard work enable the families they serve in Hong Kong to work, comfortable in the thought that their children are left in the better and secure care of Filipino HSWs.


I also wish to convey to our counterpart in the Hong Kong government our interest and readiness to engage them in bilateral talks to discuss the issues and concerns affecting the employment of Filipino HSWs in Hong Kong. Already, the POEA is in the midst of multi-stakeholders consultations on the no-placement fee convention of the ILO for our country’s ratification.”

OWWA undergoes 2nd Surveillance audit for ISO 9001:2008

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) went through the second surveillance audit for its ISO 9001:2008 Certification last April 14, 2015.


The scope of the certification includes the following core processes: Repatriation Assistance and Post-Repatriation Services, Membership Verification Process, Death Benefit Process, Arabic Language Training and Culture Familiarization for Household Service Workers (HSWs), and Education for Development Scholarship Program process. Included also in the coverage of the certification are eleven (11) support processes.


Among the processes enrolled in the said certification, 3 core processes and 7 support processes underwent surveillance audit conducted by the Certification International.


OWWA went through its first surveillance audit for the certification last December 5, 2014 and yielded positive results as the agency’s Quality Management System (QMS) was found by the Certification International to be maintained in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001: 2008. The 2nd surveillance audit was conducted to ensure continued ISO Certification.


The Certificate of Registration for the ISO 9001:2008 was officially conferred to OWWA last 2014 during its 32nd Founding Anniversary.


With this ISO Certification, each OWWA employee is challenged to be effective and efficient worker and to provide the best service to address the clients’ needs, thus, attaining total customer satisfaction.

OWWA Reactivates its Crisis Monitoring and Response Team for Yemen Crisis

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has reactivated its Crisis Monitoring and Response Team (CMRT) to respond to the current critical situation in Yemen after the Alert Level in the area was raised to 4 due to the worsening armed-conflict there. The CMRT is a special committee of OWWA that is reactivated in times of political unrest in countries where there are affected Filipino migrant workers. The committee ensures the timely response and assistance of OWWA to the distressed and displaced workers from war-torn nations.


OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado ordered the reactivation of the CMRT to closely-monitor the status of evacuees, border-crossers and Filipinos staying at holding areas, and to coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Missions in the repatriation of affected OFWs in the area. It is likewise directed to identify the needs and carry out the usual services of Repatriation Assistance Division (RAD) for repatriated workers upon arrival at the airport, and provide regular and timely advisories to the public as well as maintain records of repatriated OFWs.


OWWA has already accorded 342 repatriated Filipino migrant workers from Yemen with necessary airport assistance which includes a special lane for the processing of immigration papers of Yemen repatriates, provided temporary shelter and transport services and fares for their on-ward travel to their respective provinces. OWWA is also part of the DOLE-Assist WELL which caters to the Welfare, Employment, Livelihood and Legal needs of the displaced workers. 

80 OFWs, children from Yemen returned home

78 OFWs, and 2 children, from Yemen returned home April 14, 2015 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport aboard Philippine Airlines flight PR 655 at 9:15 A.M.


According to OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado, the returning workers were visibly happy upon arrival at the airport despite the long travel to safety which lasted for 10 hours.


Natakot po kami sa air strike na baka tumama sa mga bahay o buildings kaya nagdesisyon na kami umuwi,” a repatriate who worked for 20 years as supervisor in Yemen said. When asked if he has any plan to go back to Yemen when the situation there stabilizes, or to another country where his skills are needed, the OFW said, hindi muna, pahinga muna ako. Nakakasawa rin naman magtagal doon,” he quipped.


The returnees availed of the Philippine government’s Mandatory Repatriation Program. Alert Level 4 was raised in February 2015 when the strife in the said country escalated exposing the lives of OFWs to danger.


Last Monday, 13 April, 20 repatriates from Yemen -- 19 OFWs and one child -- were extended airport assistance by the OWWA Repatriation Team.


Upon arrival at the airport, the displaced/distressed workers were accorded airport assistance that include special lane in processing of immigration papers. 


Some of the OFWs are now temporarily housed at the OWWA Halfway Home before they return to their respective provinces. Most of those who are in OWWA are from the Visayas and Mindanao.


At the airport, the repatriates were briefed on the DOLE-OWWA-POEA ASSIST WELL programs and services, to cushion the impact of the Filipino migrant workers’ sudden job displacement resulting from the political conflict in Yemen.


Following are information on the number of Filipinos who have safely arrived in Manila: April 8 - 4 OFWs; April 9 - 90 OFWs including 5 minors; April 11 – 98 OFWs including 8 minors; April 13 – 20 OFWs including 1 child; April 14 – 80 OFWs including 2 kids, or a total of 342 returnees.


OWWA is on a 24-hour standby to repatriation advisories from the Agency’s overseas posts. 

Newly-elected WEA Officers take Oath of Office

The newly- elected officers of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) WelfareFund Employees Association, Inc. (WEA) formally  took oath at the Office of the Administrator last April 6, 2015 before OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado.


Right after the induction ceremony, the officers had their first General assembly where they presented to the Administrator their 10-point Priority Programs and Advocacies which includes employee rights and welfare.  


The election of WEA Officers took place last February 12, 2015 and the new set of officers was proclaimed the day after.


“We will not only promote the rights of employees but we also want the organization to have an economic arm”, newly-elected President Sergio B. Borgueta Jr. said. Among the proposed projects of WEA is the creation of WelfareFund Employees Association Multipurpose Cooperative.


“Makasisiguro ang mga miyembro ng WEA na ang mga bagong officers ay magtatrabaho, magseserbisyo at may patutunguhan” Borgueta added as a promise to the WEA members.


At present, the organization has 351 members comprising of OWWA Employees from the Main, Regional and Overseas Offices.


The newly- inducted WEA Officers are as follows:

President: Sergio B. Borgueta, Jr.
Vice President: Martel R. Dasayon
Secretary: Zandro R. Almendrala
Treasurer: Maria Divina A. Motas
Auditor: Demetrio G. Ilano
Business Manager: Gregoria T. Lim
PRO: Maria Luisa S. Eddun
Sgt. at Arms / Marshall: Tristan Arvin A. Perez
  Vincent E. Co



OWWA Assisted  OFW returnees from Yemen

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Airport Assistance Team, led by OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado, along with DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad and representatives from POEA, extended assistance to the 90  OFWs, including 5 minors,  who arrived  from  war-torn Yemen yesterday, Thursday,  09 April 2015.


The OFWs returned  in two batches. The first flight, Cebu Pacific flight 5J74 carrying 69 OFWs arrived at the Naia at 3:40 P.M., while another group of 22 OFW repatriates, including 5 minors, returned to the country via Cathay Pacific flight CX 919 at 4:45 in the afternoon. The OFWs availed of the Mandatory Repatriation Program of the government as alert level 4 was raised by DFA in February  due to the on-going  full-blown armed-conflict  in the said country.


Upon arrival at the NAIA, the returnees were accorded airport assistance that include facilitation of travel documents by Immigration authorities. The workers were oriented on the DOLE-OWWA Assist WELL program. The  acronym of the program stands for  W-elfare, E-mployment, L-ivelihood, and L-egal assistance.


The program provides a host of government programs and services to assist returning OFWs who have been displaced as a result of war or calamities in their workplaces.


Those from the provinces who have no place to stay were offered temporary accommodation at the OWWA Halfway Home. The returnees will also be provided with fares in going to their respective hometowns.  


In the next few days, OWWA will likewise provide airport assistance to other OFW returnees from Yemen. The Composite Team of DFA, DOLE and OWWA  at the jobsites,  is  facilitating the return of OFWs trapped in the  said country.  

150  OFWs From Yemen  to Return Home over the Weekend

150  OFWs from strife-torn Yemen  will be flown home tomorrow, Saturday, 11 April  2015, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) today said. OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado, along with DOLE and POEA officials will be at the airport to welcome the  migrant workers.


The Filipino migrant workers  boarded their planes in  Riyadh, KSA, where the composite Team of  the Philippine Embassy, and the Philippine Overseas Labor officials (POLO) evacuated them to  safety from Yemen, to Jizan, en route to Riyadh, where they were  provided accommodation,  before leaving for Manila. 


The repatriates will return in 2 batches; first flight of 50 OFWs will return  aboard Philippine Airlines PR 655 at 10:05 A.M.;  while  the 2nd group of 100 OFWs will  arrive via Cebu Pacific at 3:50 in the afternoon. 

The repatriates availed of the Philippine government’s Mandatory Repatriation Program through the Philippine Embassy. Alert level 4 was raised  in February  2015 when the infighting in the said country  escalated posing threat to the lives of OFWs and other nationals.    


Yesterday, Thursday,  09 April, a total of 90 OFWs from Yemen, including 5 minors,  were extended airport assistance by the OWWA Team led by the OWWA Administrator, DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad and POEA representatives.  In the meantime, 4 OFWs, also from  Yemen, were the first to return to  the Philippines last Wednesday night, 08 April 2015.  


Upon arrival at the airport, the displaced/distressed workers will be accorded airport assistance by the OWWA Repatriation Team. The assistance will include processing of immigration papers  through a special lane for Yemen  returnees,  in coordination with the  Immigration personnel


Aside from  airport assistance, Yemen  returnees  who have no  place to stay in Manila are   provided with temporary shelter and  are  given  transportation  fare onward  to their respective hometowns.  


At the airport, the repatriates are  briefed on  the DOLE-OWWA-POEA  ASSIST WELL programs and services,   to  cushion  the impact  of  the Filipino migrant workers’ sudden job displacement resulting from  the political conflict in Yemen. 

Top 200 Qualifiers for the 2015-2016 EDSP and 44 Qualifiers for the 2015 CMWSP

Top 200 Qualifiers for the 2015-2016 EDSP and 44 Qualifiers for the 2015 CMWSP


Son of  OFW from   Iloilo Tops  this Year OWWA EDSP


RAMON ASPERA GALVAN lll   of the Hua Siong College (Ledesco Campus),  Region 6, Iloilo City,  ranks number 1 in the  roster of qualifiers for OWWA’s   Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) Exam for school year 2015-2016.    


Over-all,  NCR  ranked number  1 with 40  top qualifiers, followed by 35  from Region lV-A. The regional distribution for the rest were   Middle East, 20; Region lll,   17; Region Vl,  16; Region Vll,  14; Region Xl,  11;  CAR, 10; Region V, 9; Region l, 6; Region X, 5; Region Vlll, 4; Region ll, 4; Region Xll, 3; Region  lX, 3; Caraga, 2; and Region lV-B, 1.  


In her report to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Chairman of the OWWA Board of Trustees, OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado  said that the top 200 examinees for  the qualifying examinations that was administered by the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute DOST-SEI last   21   September 2014  will be  accepted under OWWA’s Education for  Development Scholarship Program (EDSP).


There were 4,734  dependents of  active member-OFWs who took the examinations,  including the  346  dependents of member-OFWs in  the Middle East. The examinations were conducted  simultaneously in DOST-designated centers in Manila and in the provinces. In the Middle East, children of OWWA members took examinations in Jeddah, Riyadh,  Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia; and in Manama, Bahrain.    


The  number of awardees under the EDSP was increased  to 200 slots starting  last year  to  give opportunities to deserving dependents of OWWA members to  continue their studies through the scholarship programs offered by OWWA.   


According to  Administrator Calzado, scholars under EDSP  are provided with a maximum education assistance of Php60,000.00 per school year, for bachelor degree courses in any college or university of their choice.


Notable past OWWA scholars include Ivy Caldazo,  topnotcher   in the 2014  Geodetic Engineering Exam and  OWWA scholar- graduate-cum-West Point student  Stanley Dalisay; among others.


“We,  at OWWA,  are  pleased  every time  that we hear about the achievements of  our scholars  considering the fact that one or both  of their  parents  are  not around to guide them in their studies. Be that  as it may, they are able to draw inspiration and strength from the situation. This positive attitude and strong character made them more mature and responsible   to  do their best and make their parents proud of them, which made them   truly  laudable,” the OWWA Chief said. 


The Top Ten EDSP Scholars for 2015  are: RAMON ASPERA GALVAN lll, Hua Siong College of Iloilo, Region 6; NATHANIEL ADRIAND CARPIO DE OCAMPO, Quezon City Science High School, NCR; JAMES QUIN BATERNA MARANAN, Philippine Science High School, Quezon City, NCR;  AZEL BALBON AMADA, Silliman University High School, Dumaguete City,Negros Oriental, Region 7; BHEE-JAY LADERAS ROBLES, Holy Spirit Academy of Malolos, Bulacan, Region 3; LANCE ARCILLA HERNANDEZ, International Philippine School in Al Khobar, Al Khobar, KSA; ENGELICA VALLE PEREZ, First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities, Batangas, Region 4-A; RAY CHRISTOPHER MACARINE PASCUAL, Holy Cross of Sasa, Inc., Davao City, Region 11; ANGELA MARIE MAÑALAC, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Laguna, Region 4-A; and JAN REGGIE TOREMOTHA, Valenzuela City School of Mathematics and Sciences, Valenzuela City, NCR.


Aside from EDSP, OWWA offers other scholarship and training grants  to dependents of active  OWWA members such as the Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program (CMWSP), OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (ODSP), Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP), Skills-for-Employment Scholarship-Program (SESP), Skills Upgrading Program for Seafarers (SUP), and Information Technology Program.  





AIAN CHESTER CONCORDIA TUNGPALAN, student of Saint Joseph High School, Flora Apayao, Cordillera Autonomous Region  (CAR), is this year’s topnotcher  in the 2015 Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program (CMWSP) exam given in September 2014.


The CMWSP is a 4-5 year scholarship program established under Republic Act 8042 which grants educational financial assistance to deserving migrant workers and/or their dependents,  who intend to pursue courses in the field of science and technology identified by the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI). Scholars under the program receive assistance of P60,000.00 per school year.  352 examinees took the 2015 CMWSP. 44 qualified for this year’s scholarship grant managed by OWWA with funds coming from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).    


The Top 10 CMWSP Qualifiers are:  AIAN CHESTER CONCORDIA TUNGPALAN, Saint Joseph High School, Apayao, CAR; AILYN BOGEN SALUNGASING, Baguio City National High School, Baguio City,  CAR; SALAHUDIN ABOLAIS DATU-DACULA;  Ranao Council Al-Khwarizmi International College-Science Laboratory School, Marawi City, ARMM; XAVIER  LEMMVELLE CASTRO ROMANO, University of St. Louis, Tuguegarao City, Region 2; JAYHART V. RAMIREZ, Ifugao State University, Ifugao, CAR; FRANCIS DIWA CORDOVA, Saint Tonis College, Inc., Tabuk City, Kalinga, CAR; ROBINSON MOHAMAD ESTEPA, Cotabato City State Polytechnic College-Laboratory School, Cotabato City, ARMM; JERICK BANTAYAN AYADI, Sta. Cruz Pingkian High School, Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, Region 2; FEBBY ANNE TAQUIQUI ABUZO, St. University Philippines, Tuguegarao City, Region 2; and MARK JAYSON MOLINA AGUDA, Flora National High School , Flora Apayao, CAR. 


Aside from CMWSP, OWWA also  offers scholarship/educational assistance to dependents of active OWWA members that include OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (ODSP), Education Development Scholarship Program (EDSP), Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP), among others. Interested OWWA members may get in touch with the OWWA Regional Office nearest their residence.




A total of 1,987 livelihood starter kits were handed out by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) through its regional offices to distressed OFWs who returned to the country from January to December 2014 through the welfare agency’s Balik-Pinas, Balik-Hanapbuhay Program.


Majority of the distressed OFW-beneficiaries were females who worked as household service workers and caregivers. The remaining number comprised skilled workers, mostly male, from countries experiencing political and civil unrest such as Libya and Syria.


Most of the recipients came from Region III, followed by Regions IV-A, X, V, CAR, XI, NCR, XII, II, VI, VIII, and I.


The livelihood starter kits that amounted to P19.72M were to be used mostly for food-related ventures in various modes. These are in trading (buy and sell, rice and other foods and consumer goods, fish vending, mini-grocery, e-load, etc), agricultural production (crops, livestock & poultry), food service (carinderia, kakanin), food processing (meats, foods, fruits, candies, etc), service (salon, spa, parlor, massage, cell phone repair, computer repair, electrical repair) and manufacturing (bakery, dress making, tailoring, candle making).


Balik-Pinas-Balik-Hanapbuhay is a one-time-availment, non-cash, livelihood assistance given to returning OFWs who were displaced from their jobs due to wars/political conflicts in their host countries, or were maltreated, or victimized by human trafficking. 

Two-day Training of Trainers on New World Manila Bay Hotel

The OWWA, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration, (who hosted the training) recently concluded a two-day Training of Trainers on New World Manila Bay Hotel (formerly known as Hyatt Hotel and Casino) last 12th and 13th of February 2015.  It was attended by accredited trainers from the NGOs, recruitment agencies and Regional Directors of OWWA. 


The training also introduced new changes on the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) Manual which will be released soon.


The speakers were composed of representatives from the NGOs, the recruitment agencies and OWWA Officials.


Module One - PDOS Perspective - Albert Q. Valenciano, Director IV, PPDO - OWWA

Module Two -  Working Overseas -Dangal ng Bayan - Luther Calderon, President, KAMPI

Moduel Three - Standard Employment Contract - Ricardo Casco, Mission Coordinator / National Programme Officer, IOM

Module Four - Government Programs and Services - Emma V. Sinclair - Regional Director OWWA-NCR

Module Five - Departure Tips - Jocelyn O. Hapal, Regional Director - OWWA-RWO 5

Module Six - Health and Safety Awareness - Ma. Fe Nicodemus, Chairperson, KAKAMMPI

Module Seven - Personal Finance Tips - Edwina Beech, President - Chairwoman,  PASEI