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Passengers with flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport are once again advised to be at the airport early.


In view of the recent attack in Brussels, the Manila International Airport Authority is on heightened alert to ensure the safety and security of the flying public.


This entails a strict implementation of security measures including stringent screening of vehicles, passengers, and baggage.


Heavy screening may necessarily take more time.


Management apologizes for the inconvenience this may cause especially during this Lenten period of increased travels.


Passengers are, nevertheless, requested to cooperate and understand that security measures implemented at the airport are for the good of the riding public.


Meanwhile, airport security forces have been ordered to be extra vigilant in their duty.


The Airport Police Department is working closely with the PNP Aviation Security Group for surveillance operations.




08 March 2016


OWWA Extends Assistance to 10 Repatriated OFWs from Saudi MMG


The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has extended full assistance to ten (10) OFWs who were repatriated via Etihad Airways 424 on 03 March 2016.


The workers are among the employees of Mohammad Al Mojil Group (MMG) who were stranded at one of their worksites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) after the company experienced financial setbacks in 2014 resulting to non-payment of their employees’ salaries and other benefits.

The OWWA Repatriation Team has provided airport assistance to the workers upon their arrival. Some of them were also accommodated at the OWWA Halfway Home. The workers were also offered transportation fare for their on-ward travel to their respective provinces.

OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado immediately instructed the concerned OWWA Regional Welfare Offices (RWOs) to attend to the needs of the repatriated workers particularly in facilitating their application for OWWA’s “Balik-Pinas, Balik-Hanapbuhay”Program, a livelihood assistance for distressed/displaced workers in the form of starter kits and skills training worth Php10,000.00.

The workers were also briefed on the Assist WELL Program, initiated by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Assist WELL is acronym for Welfare, Employment, Legal and Livelihood program for returning OFWs. It intends to provide immediate assistance to repatriated 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.


For the period of January to December 2015, a total of 308 OFWs, employed by MMG, have been repatriated. Thirty (30) workers have been transferred to another company while 575 OFWs are still actively working in various projects and sites of MMG.


This case is being handled and closely-monitored by an inter-agency committee comprised of OWWA, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB), and Department of Foreign Affairs- Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) in coordination with the Philippine Embassy and Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh. xxx

ABS-CBN TFC celebrates milestone victory of Lav Diaz, "Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis" at Berlinale

BERLIN, GERMANY, FEBRUARY 23, 2016 - In 2014, the five-and-a-half-hour epic “Mula Sa Kung Ano Ang Noon” (From What Is Before), a film helmed by multi-awarded Filipino director Lav Diaz about what happened to an isolated village when brutal militias roamed the countryside during the Marcos dictatorship, won the much coveted Golden Leopard prize at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland.


When the ragtag team of Diaz returned home in the Philippines after winning the biggest honor for the country in an A-list festival, there was no hero’s welcome or festive parade to greet them: the team either took a taxi or rode the bus on the way home.


This lack of national appreciation did not deter Diaz from embarking on another project, this time directing, writing and editing an 8-hour film that starred powerhouse Filipino celebrities like John Lloyd Cruz, Piolo Pascual, Cherie Gil, Angel Aquino, Alessandra De Rossi, Hazel Orencio, Susan Africa, Bernardo Bernardo, and Joel Saracho.  Entitled, “Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis” (A Lullaby for the Sorrowful Mystery), the film was entered in the 66th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) this year. It just won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize, in memory of the festival head, “for opening new perspectives on cinematic art.”


Diaz dedicated his win to other film directors who believe that cinema can change the world.


“It is ironic that Lav Diaz is a rock star here in Europe, has won many awards for the Philippines, yet many Filipinos still do not know him, and even more sadly, are unaware of the power of his art, his medium and his message.  Our role in ABS-CBN TFC is to shine the spotlight on the Filipino talent or genius around the world. We want everyone to know the artistry, creativity, and mastery of our directors like Lav Diaz, writers, actors – in this case, ABS-CBN TFC’s very own Piolo Pascual and John Lloyd Cruz and the whole Filipino cast - and other cultural heroes.  This is ‘galing ng Filipino’, true Pinoy talent, at its world-class best.  We celebrate this milestone victory of Lav and his entire team. We celebrate the Filipino triumphant talent and spirit here in Berlinale,” said ABS-CBN Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Managing Director Kai V. Rodriguez.


No less than legendary actress Meryl Streep headed the jury that selected the winners.  “Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis” (A Lullaby for the Sorrowful Mystery) was the longest entry in said festival.  The film provided a one-hour lunch break for the audience who came from all over the world.  Loud cheers and a standing ovation greeted it after the screening, which started at 9:30am, ended at 7:00pm.


Set in the 19th century at the period of Philippine revolution against Spanish rule, “Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis” (A Lullaby for the Sorrowful Mystery) focuses on the influence of Andres Bonifacio y de Castro and follows the lives of several groups of people, including Castro’s wife who is searching for his body on a mountain that is inhabited by people from the spirit world.


The film was produced by Ten17P, Epicmedia and Sine Olivia Pilipinas. Executive producer is Paul Soriano, an award-winning director himself, who also shares producer’s credit with Bianca Balbuena.


For more about “Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis” (A Lullaby for the Sorrowful Mystery) at Berlinale, visit

ABS-CBN EMEA Managing Director Kai V. Rodriguez and her team welcomed Lav Diaz and company when they arrived in Europe

Co-stars John Lloyd Cruz, Piolo Pascual, executive producer Paul Soriano and Lav Diaz

Lav Diaz receiving the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize award

Legendary Holywood actress Meryl Streep, who headed the Berlinale jury, with producer Bianca Balbuena, "Hele" cast members Hazel  Orencio and Susan Africa plus Melo Esguerra



The OWWA Repatriation Team assists 10 OFWs repatriated from Jubail, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 03 March 2016.  The returning OFWs are part of the group of stranded workers employed by MMG, a construction company in Saudi Arabia, which experienced financial difficulties in 2014. On-going efforts are undertaken by the officials Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, in coordination with other concerned Philippine NGOs to resolve the workers’ predicaments. Aside from airport assistance, accommodation at the OWWA halfway home, OWWA briefed the workers on the Assist WELL Program spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment.   From January to December 2015, 308 MMG workers were given assistance by OWWA. More workers from MMG are expected to arrive within the next days/weeks.



OWWA Supports Juana Agenda


OWWA joins the nation in the celebration of Women’s Month. This year’s theme, “Kapakanan ni Juana, Isama sa Agenda!” embodies the imperative role of every Filipina in nation-building and that women’s concerns should be included in the government’s development agenda.


OWWA Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Committee, headed by Director Carmelina F. Velasquez set and organized the following activities to support and celebrate the said event:

  • Kick-off activity at the OWWA Multi-purpose Hall
  • Film showing featuring female OFWs
  • Posting of the official National Women’s Month Celebration Streamer
  • Photo collage and exhibit at the OWWA lobby
  • Special sessions and Fora on Gender and Women’s issues
  • Participation to the PCW Public event



In addition to the aforementioned activities, OWWA has also invited Ms. Emmeline L. Versoza, the Executive Director of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), as guest speaker in its Flag Raising Ceremony on 14 March 2016 at the OWWA Multi-purpose Hall to share her expertise and experience in the area of gender and development.


OWWA’s activities for this year’s celebration aims to increase gender awareness by engaging both the RWOs and overseas offices to conduct GAD activities, continuously support the advocacy and prioritize women’s issues in various agenda, and strengthen the advocacy on National Women’s month to OFWs and their families, with emphasis on OFW women’s issues that still need to be addressed.


Through the years, OWWA has been a reflection of “women in action”. DOLE, as its mother agency, has been headed by a woman, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, who boldly face leaders from countries where we send Filipino workers and fervently pushed for the implementation of bilateral agreements to strengthen the protection of our OFWs. OWWA has also been headed by female Administrators since 2008. Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado has tirelessly devoted her service in ensuring that OWWA’s mandate of protecting the rights and promoting the interest of OFWs are being lived up to.


Female Welfare Officers were also sent to “high-risks posts” in Middle East to ensure more comfortable interaction with our female OFWs. OWWA, thru its regional offices, has also continuously conducted events and seminars to empower female OFWs and their families. Lastly, OWWA’s workforce is comprised of 248 female employees out of the 374 total workers, who passionately serve the OFW sector.



“I salute each and every Filipina who continues to toil abroad and bravely conquers the costs of migration in order to provide better living for her family and contribute to nation building. I also commend all female OWWA employees who are behind the unceasing service to OFWs. And to all men who love and support women, hats off to you”, Administrator Calzado


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).