TFC supports the Month of Overseas Filipinos’ Model OFW Family of the Year & Media Advocacy & Migration Awards in Manila; and Pamaskong Handog & Family Day in Bicol Region
January 6, 2016 (Quezon City) – As part of its mission to accompany OFs in their journey before and after they leave the homeland, TFC supported the inter-agency celebration (IAC) of the Month of OFs (MOF) from the National Capital Region to the Bicol Region last December.
Model OFW Family of the Year
Early in December, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) awarded families who succeeded in the fields of community-building, values-formation and financial sustainability at the Model OFW Family of the Year awards. Administrator Rebecca Calzado bestowed awards to the following winners at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) last December 18: land-based winner Engineer Robert Ranchez and family from Region 1 and sea-based winner Nestor Tunogbanua and family from Region VI. Special awards went to Husna Sabtal and family for Outstanding Achievement for Entrepreneurship and Robert Guansing and family for Outstanding Achievement in Community Projects. Winners were awarded with 500,000 in cash and prizes in kind.
Pamaskong Handog para sa OFW
To reward more OFs for their hard work, the LGU of Naga City, the JMDI and OWWA, with the support of private agencies such as TFC, conducted the Pamaskong Handog Para sa OFW in SM City Naga and the Family Day in Albay Astrodome.
Organized by the Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), the United Nations Development Program and European Union-commissioned agency that recognizes the role of migration in development, together with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the local government of Naga City, gathered OFs and their families in the spirit of Christmas at the Pamaskong Handog para sa OFW at the SM City in Naga City last December 19. Over 100 OF families came together for an early Christmas gathering with entertainment featuring talented members and personal gift-giving.
Meantime, in the same region of Bicol the OWWA brought together over 600 OF families in the annual Family Day at the Albay Astrodome also to celebrate an early Christmas. The Family Day, an annual, institutionalized event created by OWWA-formed OF Family Circle, brought together families not only for merriment but most essentially, to showcase community amongst OF families and to propagate their livelihood programs.
Family Day and Pamaskong Handog
According to OIC Teresita Bantinan, the Family Day, while an annual program conducted by OWWA’s Overseas Family Communities or Circle or OFCs, always takes on a different take each year. Bantinan said: “The Family Day’s goal is to recognize the OF families’ efforts and to recognize the modern day heroes. This year, we featured the products of their livelihood projects of OFCs so they can be recognized and put out in the market.” The Family Day also put the spotlight on OF families’ talent and skills as well with the Family Day “The Voice.”
During the two events, TFC, a purveyor of service beyond a showcase of Filipino talent and entertainment, shared how OFs can still play a role in nation-building despite the distance. Through TFC’s social advocacy (We Believe in the Power of Good), intellectual property rights (Don’t Pay A High Price for Free) and overseas voting, the network showed the OFs and their families that by donating; patronizing original content & exercising their right to vote, OFs can help their kababayans in need, protect the hard-work of their fellowmen & choose their next leaders.
Launch of the first Migrant Resource Center (MRC) in Bicol
During the same week, the same inter-agency commission of JMDI, CFO and LGU also launched the first Migrant Resource Center in Bicol Region which hoped to gather all government services needed by OFs in one building. The area was chosen because Region V, specifically Naga City is to date, one of the areas with the highest deployment of OFs. Moreover, Naga City is the first local government unit (LGU) to mainstream migration in the local development planning.
Mayor John Bongat explained: “This means that in the city development plans and medium development plans, the government takes an active role in helping the OFs and their families left here. After their work abroad, upon retiring, the government will continue to give them attention. The issues of the OFs were previously not part of LGUs.”
JMDI focal person Atty. Golda Roma said that with the installment of the MRC, OFs can look forward to a one-stop-shop. “As a hub, the lined up activities cut across economic (such as the conduct of investment or entrepreneurial activities), psycho-social (such as provision of legal and counseling services to distressed migrants), capacity-building and training, and strengthening Pamilyang Migrante ka Naga (PAMANA) as a migrant organization.” Roma added: “Eventually, the MRC will also serve as venue for Pre-departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) or Pre-employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS), for DFA to set up its passport service, and for other agencies to service the public, particularly that of PAG-IBIG, Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth, Technical, Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)s and more.”
For Joseph Lee, president of the PAMANA, he is not just happy that this center provides a one-stop shop for OFs but more importantly because it enables OFs to help each other. “I am happy and proud that we have organized today. This MRC is a great help for us. The more privileged OFs can help us less fortunate OFs.”
Aside from providing support in terms of financial support and skills training, OFC San Lorenzo Association President Amparo Botis Sanchez, said OFs can also help in terms of service. “When I returned from overseas work, I have made it my mission to be the mother of OFs here in Bicol. I was entrusted by OWWA to oversee the help desk.”
One of the help extended by OFs was their own contribution to the relief efforts for Filipinos from Sorsogon who were affected by Typhoon Nona. Together with CFO, Land Transportation Office represented by Region V officer Vincent Nato and Lewis college students, the Feed the Hungry of Washington DC (FTH) helped repack and distribute relief goods to barangays in hard-hit Sorsogon. The volunteers visited and distributed over a thousand relief goods to distraught families in Sta Magadalena, Juban and Bulan.
Recognizing media’s role
Beyond serving the needs of kababayans and recognizing the efforts of OF families, the inter-agency commission also highlighted the efforts of multi-media entities in bringing forth the issues that beset OFs. On December 18, Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) awarded ten media entities who highlight the issues which OFs face and at the same time present solutions through their platforms. Winners included TFC’s JuanEUKonek and TFC@theMovies’ EDSA Woolworth under the categories Best TV Program (regular) and Best Film.
In total, the MOF did not only recognize OF’s sacrifices but gave the gift or opportunity for OF families to repay these sacrifices by coming together in the spirit of community and identifying ways to make these sacrifices all worth it for the entire family. It also provided avenues for different sectors to play a role in the lives of OFs.
The IAC for the celebration of MOF is chaired by the PMRW and co-chaired by the CFO with members from the government agencies and civil society, which include the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Health, Department of Tourism, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Trade and Industry, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Film Development Council of the Philippines, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Pag-IBIG Home Development Mutual Fund, Social Security System, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, League of Provinces of the Philippines, League of Cities of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, Philippine Migration Research Network, Migrant Forum in Asia, Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines, and the United Nations Development Programme.
From left to right: Sorsogon City (Bicol) Mayor Sally Lee, Naga City Mayor John Bongat, and NEDA Regional Director Agnes Espinas, Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) focal person Atty. Golda Roma unveil the marker of the Migrant Resource Center (MRC) in Naga City which hopes to bring together all government agency services in one roof; the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) also recently recognized the efforts of multi-media entities who tackle the issues of OFs and provide solutions as well in the December Media Advocacy and Migration Awards; hundreds of OF families from the Bicol Region celebrate Christmas at the Pamaskong Handog and OWWA OFW Family Day; and OWWA Administrator Rebecca Calzado awards the winners of the Model OFW Family of the Year
Second row from left to right: OF families showcase their livelihood produce as well as their talent at the OWWA Family Day in Legazpi, Albay