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OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado and POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac share their thoughts during the momentous signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on ‘tanim-bala’. The MOU aims   to synchronize the government’s effort of ensuring the protection of all outbound passengers/travellers, especially OFWs, from the Philippine airports to safeguard the rights of the passengers, without compromising the security measures implemented inside the premises of the Philippine international airports. The MOU is an offshoot to address/eliminate cases associated with the alleged ‘tanim-bala’ issue   victimizing passengers and OFWs. The MOU-signing was held on 16 February 2016 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).



Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz delivers her message during the MOU-signing on the international airport security measures focused on the ‘tanim- bala’ issue at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport last week. The Secretary stressed  the  earnest  effort and sensitivity of the Aquino administration to immediately address the matter via ‘awareness’ and  synchronized actions among,  and between the various participating  government agencies involved in providing  services to outgoing passengers, including OFWs, at the country’s  international airports.



Heads of various government institutions and implementing agencies present to the media copy of the signed MOU focused on the government’s concerted effort in giving fast, smooth, effective, and transparent transactions to air travellers, including OFWs, at the NAIA and all international airports in the country.  Present during the momentous event were Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC)  Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary  Senen Sarmiento,  Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary Zabedin M. Azis, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group PNP-ASG Chief PC Supt. Francisco Baltazar,  Office of  Transportation Security (OTS) Administrator Roland Recomono, DILG-Undersecretary Peter Irving Corvera, DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad,  and National Prosecution Service) NPS-DOJ representative Atty. Theodore Villanueva.


OWWA Extends Assistance to Families of OFW Fire Victims in Iraq

OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado leads the OWWA Repatriation Team to extend airport assistance to the families of the 13 OFW victims from Iraq, who perished in a fire that gutted the hotel where the “Pinays’ worked. The OFWs’ remains arrived on a Saturday afternoon, 13 February 2016. According to initial investigation by the Iraqi authorities, the victims were at the basement of the hotel when the fire broke out. The victims died of suffocation from the fumes. After the documentation procedures, the remains of the OFWs were released to the consignees and brought home to their respective residences.


OWWA Extends Assistance to Families of OFW Fire Victims in Iraq

OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado briefs the families of the 13 OFWs who died in a fire incident in Iraq last week. The OWWA head gave words of encouragement to comfort the grieving relatives of the Pinay workers. The OWWA Repatriation Team extended necessary assistance to the families of the fire victims, including facilitation of the documents for the release of the cadavers to their respective consignees. Arrangements were also made to ship the remains of OFWs living in the provinces. Families of OFWs who are active OWWA members at the time of their death are entitled to receive benefits from the agency that include death and burial benefits, education and livelihood assistance. However, all families of departed OFWs are accorded airport and documentation assistance from the OWWA personnel assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).


OWWA Extends Assistance to Families of OFW Fire Victims in Iraq

The families/relatives of the 13 OFWs who died from a fire incident in Iraq wait for the return of the bodies of their loved ones last Saturday, 13 February 2016 at the cargo area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado headed the OWWA Repatriation Team in extending assistance to the families of the female Filipino migrant workers. The OWWA Repatriation Team stayed until the wee hours of the morning to assist the families of the deceased OFWs in the documentation procedures at NAIA in order to release the OFWs’ bodies to their respective consignees.



21 OFW nurses, assistant nurses, and medical workers from Kuwait are the initial beneficiaries of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-led Assist WELL Program whose primary objective is to extend immediate assistance to returning OFWs who are displaced due to war or other distressful situations or economic problems in countries where they work, or are victims of calamities, epidemics, and labor problems. Assist WELL is acronym for Welfare, Employment, Legal and Livelihood program for returning OFWs. The 21 Filipino migrant workers are the first recipients of the program when it was launched last week at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) building in Ortigas, Pasig City.


The returning female OFWs were met by OWWA at the NAIA in coordination with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Kuwait.


“Hindi nasunod ang nakasaad sa pinirmahan naming kontrata kaya nagdesisyon kami na umuwi na lang ng Pilipinas,” these are the words the returning OFWs who supposedly applied for employment in a hospital in Kuwait as nurses, assistant nurses, and medical workers, but ended up as care givers instead.


According to OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado, who met the female OFWs when they were brought to OWWA Center in Pasay City, the remaining 8 OFWs who have no relatives in Manila will be temporarily accommodated at the OWWA Halfway Home, before proceeding to their respective provinces. Out of the 8 OFWs, 5 are from Mindanao, while the rest are from the Visayas and Luzon.


The affected workers narrated about their work experience and the reason why they opted to be repatriated. One of the nurses disclosed that instead of working in a hospital, they were forced to work in different homes as caregivers depending on the need or call of their foreign recruitment agency (FRA). Their situation, the OFWs added, was aggravated when they were paid only for hours worked which is a violation of their contract. More so, common quarters provided by their FRA served as their accommodation.


Under the Assist WELL program, affected workers will be provided temporary shelter. A one-stop-shop processing center will be established to attend to the immediate needs of OFWs upon their return to the country. The processing centers will institutionalize the availment of various assistance provided by DOLE and its attached agencies to OFWs. The agencies involved are OWWA, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO).


Aside from temporary shelter, the OFWs will also be offered legal assistance, transportation fare, as well as OWWA’s “Balik-Pinas, Balik-Hanapbuhay” livelihood assistance program. Returning workers may also be referred by the participating government agencies for local employment, or in another country of their choice. Other Assist WELL Centers are located in selected DOLE and OWWA Regional offices nationwide.


The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has extended airport assistance to the families of the 13 female OFWs who perished in the fire that gutted a hotel in Iraq. The remains of the OFWs were repatriated last Saturday, 13 February 2016, via Emirates Airways (EK) flight 332 at 4:00 P.M.


Seven (7) cadavers were released to the families who patiently waited at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (cargo). The rest were shipped to their respective provinces in Mindanao via PAL.


The OWWA Repatriation Team assisted the families of the departed Filipino migrant workers in going through the process of releasing the remains of the workers.


OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado has also personally appeared before the bereaved families.


“We feel sad about the fate of our “kababayans” who perished in the hotel fire. However, as mentioned by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, we assure the families of those who died in the incident who were active OWWA members at the time of their death, that they will receive full benefits from OWWA,” Administrator Calzado said.


Eligible families will receive Death and Burial Benefit amounting to Php 220,000.00 and Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP), a one-time scholarship-cum-livelihood grant for the surviving heirs of an active OWWA Member.


The names of the fatalities were withheld in respect to the situation of grieving families.


The HRD KOREA – EPS Center in the Philippines is now accepting applications of EPS Returnee-Workers in claiming their Departure/Emigration Insurances.


Only EPS Returnee-Workers who are named in the Official List will be entertained in filing their applications to claim said Insurances. Please call HRD KOREA – EPS Center in the Philippines at tel. (02) 470 18 53 for Application Forms, Instructions and other information.


The HRD KOREA – EPS Center in the Philippines is the only authorized office to accept, process and forward the insurance claims to the respective insurance company in the Republic of Korea and that NO other agency (whether private or public agencies/office) is authorized to deal with EPS Returnee-Workers.


The official listings of EPS Returnee-Workers can be viewed through the OWWA Official Website –


Thank you.



The Management

HRD KOREA – EPS Center in the Philippines


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@theMoviesEDSA 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