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RWO XII

The Kiwanan OFW Family Association in partnership with the Public OFW Desk Office – LGU Midsayap initiated a Community Outreach Program cum Animal Anti-Rabies Vaccination last February 12, 2018 at Brgy. Kiwanan, Midsayap, North Cotabato.

 

The Community Outreach Program is part of the Pre-Valentine’s Day Celebration of the OFW Family Circle. The year 2018 also marks the 14th year celebration of their formation as an organized OFW group in Midsayap.

 

The activity includes distribution of clothes to selected families in their barangay, vaccination of domesticated pets and it was concluded with a simple banquet at the OFC’s headquarter.  

Ten (10) families were able to receive clothes and relief goods from the collective efforts and generosity of OFC members and OFWs in Kiwanan. Furthermore, a total for forty (40) domesticated pets (e.g. dogs and cats) were vaccinated with anti-rabies.

 

OFC President Aquilino Manos, Jr. said that the activity is one of their organizational goals as an empowered OFW Family Circle that endeavours to serve the poor and the left-behind.  

 

"Ang mga OFWs ng Kiwanan kailanmanm ay hindi magsasawang tumulong sa ibang tao. Maliit man o malaki ang aming naibibigay basta’t ito ay galing sa puso, ito ay makabuluhan." said OFC President Manos in his opening remarks.

Officer-in-Charge Malryn E. Jamero commended the Kiwanan OFW Family Association for this worthwhile activity. She also extended her gratitude to the local government unit through its Public OFW Desk Office (PODO) for its continued support to the programs and services of the agency especially to its Family Support and Development Program.

 

The Kiwanan OFW Family Association was organized under the Community Organizing Program of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration XII last February 24, 2004. For more than a decade, the association already conducted various activities like feeding programs within the locality and has been an active partner of the LGU since then.

 

RWO I

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) provides cash assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have returned home from Kuwait after signing in for the Amnesty Program.

The OWWA Cash Relief (CARE) Program provides P5,000.00 to each of the OFWs, to aid them in their return to their homeland.

As of February 23, the OWWA Regional Welfare Office I has already disbursed P130,000 for the program, distributed to 26 OFW-returnees. 13 of them come from La Union, 10 from Pangasinan, two from Ilocos Norte, and one from outside the region.

Qualified to apply for the program are OFWs who have availed of the Kuwait’s Amnesty Program, which allowed them to leave the Gulf state without having to pay corresponding penalties, as they are illegal stayers or have committed violations.

In Region 1, for example, most of the availees have committed absconding, or have ran-away from their employers, which is illegal under Kuwait law. Others had expired iqama, or work permits, while the rest were over stayers or visit visa holders.

Aside from the cash aid, the OWWA also provides livelihood assistance to the repatriated workers, through the Balik Pinas Balik Hanapbuhay Program. Each of the OFWs will be given P20,000 cash grant which they will use to start a livelihood undertaking of their choice. If they are active OWWA members, the OFWs may also avail of the OWWA training assistance, which provides them P14,500.00 should they wish to enroll in any technical-vocational courses. 

The OWWA is one of the lead government offices assisting OFWs who availed of the Kuwait’s Amnesty Program, which began on January 29, 2018. As of February 21, a total of 2,286 amnesty availees have already arrived home.  Around 8,000 more are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

RWO ARMM

COTABATO CITY – Considering the extent of damage to the lives of OFWs and their families affected by the Marawi Crisis, an additional assistance is extended by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to the OFW-members and/or their families, active or non-active, who are directly affected by the crisis to help them in rebuilding their lives in the City of Marawi.

The Bangon Marawi Rehabilitation Assistance Program may cover for the repair, rehabilitation, health care, and other basic necessities upon return of affected OFW-members and/or their families to their communities.

The assistance is pursuant to Administrative Order No. 3, s. 2017, issued by the Office of the President, and per OWWA Board Resolution No. 35, s. 2017, under OWWA’s Welfare Assistance Program (WAP), where active OWWA members shall be granted an additional assistance in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (Php 10,000.00) while non-active members shall receive Five Thousand Pesos (Php 5,000.00).

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OWWA-ARMM) is continuously processing and releasing the rehabilitation assistance to the affected OFWs and/or their families.

As of today, OWWA-ARMM has already released an aggregated amount of Php 2,075,000.00 to Three Hundred Ninety Eight (398) qualified OFW-members.

RWO V

Iriga City – Number thirteen is just a number with no added flair of negativity as 13 graduates from Iriga City delightfully held their certificates with pride. OWWA RWO5 conducted the five – day live out IT Training in Iriga City Library where nine (9) OFWs plus four (4) OFW dependents have availed of the training.

 

There were nine (9) modules presented during the training such as Computer Fundamentals, Word Processing Fundamentals, Spreadsheet Fundamentals, Database Fundamentals, Presentation Fundamentals, Digital Media Fundamentals, Internet & World Wide Web Fundamentals, Web Design Fundamentals and Learn and Earn.

The age group of the participants varies having 16 years old as the youngest and 56 being the eldest from the batch.  According to Dominic Sanchez,   IT Trainor who facilitated the training “I personally adjusted the module to let everyone keep up with the workshops, the age group for this batch varies a lot. Some can easily cope up while others can’t.

Previously, the main objective of the IT training was to bridge the communication gap between the OFW and his family, yet with the dawn of technology the interaction between an OFW and his loved ones had become trouble-free with the social applications of today. Currently, its purpose is mainly to increase the chance of every IT graduate lead an employment using the Microsoft Certificate at the end of the training, a fine tool for attachment on every curriculum vitae for overseas or local employment.  The use of computer and the internet are essential tools of today to advance better employment opportunities.

RWO II

For the ease and convenience of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 2, in coordination with other agencies involved in migration,  launched the One-Stop Services Center for OFWs (OSSCO) last March 9, 2018 at the  Integrated Terminal Complex, Malvar, Santiago City.

As one of the agencies of the OSSCO, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Regional Welfare Office 02 will facilitate OWWA membership processing and accommodate queries on other programs and services.

The launching was spearheaded by the Administrator of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Atty. Bernard P. Olalia, Deputy Administrator of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Josefino I. Torres, Santiago City Mayor, Engr. Joseph S. Tan, and OIC-Regional Director of the Department of Labor and Employment – Region 2 (DOLE 2), Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol.

“The establishment of OSSCO will ease the burden of OFWs on processing of their documents because they don’t need to go from one place to another anymore.  They can now save time and expenses in availing government services because practically all their needs can now be catered in just one place,” Atty. Mirasol said.

The establishment of OSSCO in Santiago City is in response to the order of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to streamline government services for OFWs.  Upon instruction of Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, DOLE Region 2 established the OSSCO in Santiago City on March 9, 2018.  This development is aimed to bring government services closer to the people.

Mayor Tan is very grateful of the established OSSCO.

“I would like to thank Secretary Bello for establishing OSSCO in our city.  Now, my constituents need not go to Tuguegarao City to process their documents.  This OSSCO is not only open to OFWs from Santiago City but also those who are from nearby municipalities and provinces.  This facility is just the beginning of a bigger collaboration in the future.  I am committing a lot of the City government in this area for the construction of a bigger building for one-stop government services,” Mayor Tan stressed.

On the other hand, OWWA Deputy Administrator Josefino I. Torres said the OSSCO is in recognition of the contribution to the economy of OFWs.  Their remittances saved the country from the financial crisis in recent years.  It is just proper to make their lives easier and establishing OSSCO is one way of helping them according to Torres.

The OSSCO in Santiago City is the 18th facility in the country and second in Region 02.  Sixteen government agencies are housed in a single roof to provide services to OFWs.  Heads and Representatives of the said agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to solidify its operation.

Aside from DOLE, OWWA, POEA and Santiago City Government, other offices that composed the center are PhilHealth, Social Security System, Pag-Ibig Fund, Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine Statistics Authority, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Professional Regulation Commission, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Santiago City Police Office.

The main role of the agencies involved in the OSSCO are as follows:

  • Department of Foreign Affairs -- passport services;
  • Overseas Workers Welfare Administration -- processing or renewal of OWWA membership and services;
  • Philippine Overseas and Employment Administration -- Documentation and registration of workers, legal assistance, verification of OFW records, status of overseas recruitment agencies and response to other queries;
  • Professional Regulation Commission -- Renewal of ID and certification of ratings;
  • Technical Education and Skills Development Authority -- competency assessment, verification of certificates and special order, training or scholarship assistance;
  • Home Development Mutual Fund -- Pag-IBIG membership;
  • Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) -- Membership and updating;
  • Social Security System -- Registration and membership, response to queries on loans and benefit claims;
  • Philippine Statistics Authority -- Issuance of live birth, marriage, death, and no marriage certificates;
  • National Bureau of Investigation -- Issuance of NBI clearance;
  • Commission on Higher Education -- verification and authentication of school credentials;
  • Bureau of Immigration -- Departure clearance;
  • Philippine National Police -- issuance of Police Clearance;
  • Bureau of Internal Revenue -- response to queries; and
  • Department of Labor and Employment – overall coordinator.

 

OFW Minda Saddung an OFW returnee from Lebanon and a resident of Nagasican, Santigao City who is applying for OWWA assistance said that “It is a big help to us, specialy me, who just undergone medical operation not to travel longer to Tuguegarao City to avail Government Services”.

All regional directors and representatives of participating OSSCO agencies signed the Memorandum of Undertaking, in which they are all required to make available to OFWs the needed information as to the agency's programs and services and respond to their queries, and to also eliminate unnecessary and duplicative documents for overseas deployment.

OWWA-RWO2 Staff headed by OIC-Regional Director Pilipina C. Dino participated the OSSCO launching.

Representing OWWA Administrator Hanz Leo J. Cacdac is the OWWA Deputy Administrator Josefino I. Torres together with ROCS Director II Mr. Benny I. Reyes.

Present at the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon to open the Santiago City OSSCO are POEA Administrator, Atty. Bernard P. Olalia, Deputy Administrator of OWWA Josefino I. Torres, Santiago City Mayor, Engr. Joseph S. Tan, and OIC-Regional Director of the DOLE RO2 Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol.

RWO XI

Davao Oriental – The OWWA Regional Welfare Office XI conducted a two-day training to a total of sixty-five (65) officers and members of the Calapagan OFW Family Circle. The Community Leadership Training and Financial Literacy Seminar was held at the Bgry. Session Hall, Calapagan, Lupon, Davao Oriental last January 10-11, 2018. OWWA XI Family Welfare Officer, Albert G. Salazar facilitated the training.

            During the first day of the activity, the participants were provided with the basic principles of community development and leadership. Mr. Salazar discussed the basic functions of the officers and how can they contribute to the sustainability and development of the organization. He emphasized that attitude, image, behavior, and competence of a leader should be understood so that the organization will run smoothly. Likewise, officers must be transparent to its members and should practice proper and effective communication.

            The second day of the activity focused on assessing the existing interests, skills, characteristics, qualities, and capabilities of OFWs and their families as entrepreneurs. In this session, they were provided with substantial inputs on viable business and possible entrepreneurial ventures as well as basic concepts of business operations and management. OWWA conducts financial literacy seminar to guide the OFWs and their families in the proper management of their finances.

To make the organization more dependable and sustainable, OWWA provides technical support and capability building activities that will capacitate them. Likewise, to make them more reliable, they were encouraged to engage in community enterprise.

To be able to start their community enterprise, the Calapagan OFW Family Circle decided to put up a hog raising project. Presently, they are preparing for the business plan and other needed documents to pursue the project.

At the end of the two-day training, the OFC officers were equipped with the proper knowledge on handling and managing the organization and the members were able to appreciate its functions and committed to practice it within the organization. Likewise, they were given the opportunity to build their own community enterprise that will help them generate income. They were grateful to OWWA for conducting the said activity because it enables them to be more effective in their given tasks.

OWWA continues to provide capability building activities to its organized OFW Family Circles (OFC) for them to become effective partners in the delivery of its programs and services.

 

RWO X

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Region 10 conducted a Capability Building Seminar for the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Managers and the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Family Circles (OFC) Leaders in Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental on January 24-25, 2018

OWWA Region 10 thru Ms. Rhona Z. Fahigal, Officer-in-Charge for Programs and Services Division, updated the participants about the new and enhanced OWWA programs and services which include the Welfare Assistance Program (WAP) and the improved scholarship programs.

Officer-in-Charge (OIC)-Regional Director Leonor C. Mabagal also tackled pressing issues and concerns raised by the PESO and some leaders of the OFW organizations in the area.

The event was held at Horizons Resort and Splash-Away Water Park in Baroy, Lanao del Norte, attended by (16) PESO Managers of the following Local Government Units (LGUs): Maigo, Kolambugan, Iligan, Sapad, Baroy, Matungao, Tangcal, Munai, Nunungan, Kapatagan, Lala, Linamon, Bacolod, Tubod, Kauswagan and Salvador in Lanao del Norte. The two (2) OFC organizations (Heart of the Sea and Pearl of the Sea), both from Iligan City, together with their members and officers, also joined the activity.

Meanwhile, the activity in Misamis Occidental was attended by PESO Managers from Ozamiz City, Oroquieta City and the municipalities of Jimenez, Baliangao, Calamba, Tudela, Lopez Jaena, Plaridel and Sapang Dalaga. The officers and members of the United Plaridelian Seafarer’s Association (UPS) from Plaridel, Misamis Occidental also participated in the event.

The groups’ proposed 2018 Action Plan highlighted the need to include building-up of new OFW groups in each municipality, education and trainings and other psycho-social activities, which would eventually strengthen the strong partnership and cooperation of OWWA, the PESO and the OFCs. 

RWO XI

Davao City – Sixteen (16) OFWs from the different municipalities in Region XI have benefitted from the Supplemental Medical Assistance (MEDPlus) Program of OWWA. As of December 2017, OWWA-RWO XI has released a total of P487,620.00 to 16 active OWWA and Philhealth members. Most of those patients are diagnosed with cancer and kidney diseases. They underwent chemotherapy and dialysis treatment.

The program is in pursuant to the Memorandum of Agreement signed by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) on June 1, 2016.

The MEDPlus program for OFWs is designed to provide supplemental medical relief for active OWWA member-OFWs afflicted with dreaded diseases and were hospitalized either at the jobsite or while in the Philippines. It shall cover only one dreaded disease per OFW-member. It is a payment of their hospital/medical bills through sharing in the medical cost equivalent to the Philhealth case rate but not to exceed Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) per OFW-member. To avail of the program, an OFW must be an active member of both OWWA and Philhealth at the time of confinement/treatment.

Among the dreaded diseases covered in the program include: chronic kidney disease; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; ischemic heart disease; liver diseases; malignant neoplasm of urinary tract, bone and articular, central nervous, digestive organs, female genital tract; eye, ear and nose; lymphoid; among others. The program is also applicable to dialysis and chemotherapy sessions.

Qualified OFWs may submit copy of Philhealth Benefit Payment Notice (BPN) or screen of the OFWs availment record from the MyPhilhealth Portal, duly accomplished MEDPlus application form, and one (1) passport size picture.

Process cycle time is three (3) working days upon submission and acceptance of complete requirements and confirmation of payment of Philhealth benefit. Medical records of the patient are properly evaluated by the authorized medical doctor of OWWA. Those who want to avail of the assistance are encouraged to visit the OWWA-Regional Welfare Office XI for further evaluation and verification of medical records.

 

 

MEDPlus is one of the new programs of OWWA that will help the member-OFWs who are suffering from any dreaded diseases to further reduce their medical expenses.

For more information about the program, they may call OWWA-RWO XI hotline numbers 0917-7011135 or 0917-7011126, (082) 221-8593/227-9536 or visit the regional office located at Door 31, E-G Cam Building, Monteverde St., Davao City

RWO XI

Compostela Valley Province – A total of twenty (20) active and inactive OFWs from the different municipalities of Compostela Valley Province attended a one-day General Orientation on OWWA Programs and Services last January 5, 2017 at the NICO Conference Room, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley Province. Participants were mostly domestic workers from the Middle East who were formed through the social media.  

            The activity aims to heighten awareness of participants on the various programs and services of OWWA as well as the benefits of OFWs and their families. It also aims to identify issues and concerns regarding the programs and to be able to organize a dynamic OFW Family Circle in the province.

            OWWA XI Family Welfare Officer, Bonee Jaye B. Bagaipo provided a substantial  input on the five (5) core programs of OWWA which are; Social Benefits, Education and Training Program, Workers Welfare Assistance Program, Social and Family Welfare Services, and Reintegration Program.

            As future care providers, participants were given clear discussion on the workers welfare assistance program. FWO Bagaipo gave emphasis on giving the right assistance to the OFWs and their families with welfare concerns.

            OWWA XI PDOS Trainer and resource person, Mr. Cristelito T. Abadilla, on the other hand, presented a situationer report on the number of active and inactive OFWs in the province of Compostela Valley. In his presentation, Mr. Abadilla stated that as of September 2017, Compostela Valley Province has a total of 15,974 active and inactive OWWA members. Likewise, he discussed the common welfare cases handled by the region and the top 10 skills and country of destinations of workers from Davao region.

            At the end of the activity, participants were able to become more aware on the various programs and services of OWWA . Ms. Amilagros A. del Valle, a clinic specialist in Qatar was very grateful on the knowledge she gained from the activity because she was able to learn about the benefits of the OFWs and the importance of being an OWWA member while Ms. Avalyn M. Solidares, a domestic worker in Kuwait was feeling blessed to be invited to attend the said activity. “I am so delighted with all the information I learned from this seminar. I will surely disseminate the information to my fellow OFWs in Kuwait,” she said.

The activity has made them more confident to answer and assist co-OFWs who experience different problems and maltreatment from their employers. Likewise, the group has expressed their intention to be organized as OFW Family Circle which will serve as conduit of OWWA in the effective delivery of its programs and services at the grassroots level. 

National Capital Region

150 officers and members of the OFW Family Circles (OFCs) in the National Capital Region (NCR) participated in the 7th OFW and Family Summit for Poverty Alleviation and Governance at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on 22 November 2017.

                Entitled as “Kabuhayan sa Agrikultura para sa Pamilyang OFW”, the summit focuses on livelihood opportunities for OFWs who wants to engage in agriculture as a business. It is now considered as a promising industry because of the government’s renewed commitment to increase production of agricultural products. The summit was highlighted by featuring OFWs-turned-agri-preneurs, who shared their successes in building agricultural enterprises.

                Sen. Cynthia Villar, Director of the organization behind the annual holding of the summit, said that, “The prospect of agriculture is promising with our government’s renewed commitment to support this sector. We are also starting to reap the benefits of our legislative efforts to train our farmers on modern farming techniques and financial know-how.”

                OWWA participated in the summit as its commitment to provide services to OFWs. An OWWA booth was manned by Family Welfare Officers (FWOs) of the RWO - NCR to inform participating OFWs about the OWWA programs and services. On the other hand, OWWA Deputy Administrator (DA) Josefino Torres also oriented participants on OWWA’s Reintegration Program available for OFWs and their families. He emphasized the importance of effective financial management as a strategy to prepare the OFWs and ensure that they are not empty handed when they return to the country. He added that engaging in businesses will help them in their economic life once they decide to stay permanently in the Philippines.

 

                Ms. Ednellyn Barnino, an OFW who attended the event, expressed her appreciation to OWWA. She said that, “OWWA helped us [OFWs] become financially secured by conducting Financial Literacy seminars. The Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program also helped us in starting our own businesses, helping us to become successful without the need to work abroad.”

OWWA-NCR’s FWOs informing OFWs OWWA’s programs and services

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