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National Capital Region

Engr. Leo De Velez and Mrs. Elaine De Velez represented the Land Based category in the National Capital Region and won the Model OFW Family of the Year Awards (MOFYA) at the Malacanang Palace on 5 December 2017.

The De Velez family expressed their gratitude and honor for winning the Land based Category in the 2017 MOFYA. In the initial interview, Engr. De Velez said that he never expected the recognition of his hard work. As a silent mover in his profession, Engr. De Velez and his family have helped less fortunate people especially children in the field of education, through their business called FrontLearners, Inc.FrontLearners, Inc. started as a partnership between Leo and Elaine and evolved into a business corporation. They established their business because of their dream of giving children the opportunity to have quality education they deserve.  Through the use of effective e-teaching tools for students they developed the app BlendEd Box. The corporation ensures that premium education through the aide of the latest technology is readily accessible to many Filipino learners. The corporation has been helping public schools and communities of indigenous people, like the Aetas from Tarlac, the Bago Tribe from Nueva Ecija, Agtas from Pureg, Sanchez Mira, and the  Isnegs from Kitteg, Sanchez Mira. Their dedication and perseverance led them to succeed in their chosen field because FrontLearners, Inc. has been garnering numerous awards in the country and abroad.

Left: Mrs. Elaine De Velez poses infront of Pureg Elementary School; Right: The students of Pureg Elemntary School line up in attendance 

To date, the FrontLearners, Inc. has already been helping more than 10,000 elementary school students through the BlendEd Box e-learning method. It also received numerous accolades and positive reports from schools claiming that they were able to compete and win in inter-school competitions for the first time.

After winning the 2017 MOFYA competition, Engr. Leo and Elaine De Velez said that they “are humbly honored in receiving the recognition. We hope we can be an additional inspiration to our fellow OFW families.” The De Velez family also congratulated other candidates and remarked that, “Each one of us has an interesting and inspiring story to tell and hopefully motivate our fellow OFW families to be resilient and to persevere in life while working overseas in achieving family goals. We hope our stories can also encourage them to serve their community and the Filipino people sharing their talents, time, and resources.” Lastly, they said that, “By humbly receiving the 2017 National MOFYA, we commit ourselves to the service of our fellow OFW families. We will work closely with OWWA and with many OFW organizations to help our OFWs and their families. Mabuhay ang OFW families at mabuhay ang OWWA!”

The Model OFW Family of the Year Awards is an annual national competition comprised of OFW Family candidates in both Land-based and Sea-based Category coming from different regions. Each vying for the national title in recognition of their significant contributions to the country as OFWs. A rigorous selection process is ensued based on the family’s success in different aspects: education, spiritual, social, and financial. The family’s contribution to the country in terms of charities are also evaluated. With this, MOFYA seeks to recognize OFW families and represents them as models for aspiring OFWs who wish to help their fellow countrymen.

 

RWO I

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) wishes to remind overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) whose membership with OWWA has expired, to renew their membership and retain their active status as members.

The reminder is especially true to those OFWs who have come home this Yuletide season and will now return to their respective employments abroad. Known as the Balik Manggagawa (BMs), these OFWs are those who will return to the same employers in the same jobsite overseas. They were those who spent their annual vacation leave here in their home country in time for the Christmas season.

The membership premium for the month of January 2018 is at P1,261.25. This is the current equivalent of the 25USD membership fee that is valid for 24 months.

The same amount also applies to the new hires, and those who have transferred to new employers abroad.

“We call on our inactive members to renew their membership. This is to keep their status as active OWWA members, thus according them with the various services and benefits,” said OWWA Regional Welfare Office I (RWOI) OIC Dir. Sergio B. Borgueta Jr. “This is very timely, especially now that the OWWA has expanded and enhanced its programs and services to its active members.”, he added.

For the convenience of its members in Region 1, the OWWA RWOI reiterates its presence in various satellite offices across the region, such as:

Location

Office Address

Schedules

Rosales, Pangasinan

OWWA Provincial Office, DOLE Rosales

Brgy. Carmay, Rosales, Pangasinan

Monday- Friday

Dagupan City

DOLE Dagupan

Tambac District, Dagupan City, Pangasinan

Every Wednesday

Alaminos City

DOLE Alaminos,

EJR Building, Alaminos City, Pangasinan

Every Friday

San Fernando City, LU

OFW One Stop Shop, Manna Mall

Brgy. Biday, San Fernando City LU

Mondays, Wednesday

Regional Welfare Office I

2nd Floor, Kenny Plaza Building,

Quezon Ave. San Fernando City, LU

Monday-Friday

Candon City

Candon City Hall

National Highway, Candon City, Ilocos Sur

Every Thursday

Vigan City

DOLE Vigan,

Rizal St. Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Every Friday

Laoag City

DOLE Laoag

Panpacific Bldg, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

Monday- Friday

 

RWO V

Legazpi City – Eighty (80) OWWA scholars from the six provinces of Bicol gathered amidst the pouring rain on December 20 in Legazpi City. This initiative aims to equip the scholars with proficiency in modules of financial literacy and values education. The activity has an added twist of providing fun for the millennials.

 

They were fed with wisdom from the onset of the program. OWWA Regional Director, Samuel S. Madrid cited, "you are the cream of the crop and you have to show your OFW parents/sibling that you deserve to be called as an OWWA scholar by striving to be the best that you can be as a student". 

 

While the scholars were infused with knowledge on the concept of savings and knowing themselves, OWWA RWO 5 made sure that they won’t get bored through the exciting activities prepared for them. The attendees were divided into four groups with interesting names such as OWWANAoNE, Team Jedai, OWWA Rangers, Team Dragons and OWWAanderfull Squad.  The series of games made them strategize mentally and physically to tests their wit. Each time a game ends, OWWA RWO5 imparted the values they can get from the competition. 

 

The activity was capped with a mini cocktail party for the millennials where they got lots of wisdom and pocket full of goodies and cash to share or save. 

RWO V

Malilipot, Albay - The need to hear out the programs and services of the lead agency for the welfare of OFWs was the driving force of the OFW community of Barangay San Jose in Malilipot, Albay to convene one afternoon on January 15, 2017.

 

The municipality, known for its rope making, has one woman who initiated the move to gather. Maria Gracia S. Gimena, a former HSW from Singapore did the house-to-house approach to inform her neighborhood that OWWA RWO5 shall visit their municipality. 

 

The supposed to be twenty attendees rose to fifty five during the program orientation. They were all eyes on the screen as each intervention program in the migration cycle was discussed.

 

Many have raised queries on scholarships and livelihood projects while some had been quiet in jotting down notes. 

 

The prime mover of the activity was nominated and elected as the president of the organization. Maria Gracia in her speech says “I am actually hesitant to take this position as I live alone and I have a small business that I am running to sustain my everyday needs, but after seeing your support for me, I will do my best to help the organization as partner in informing others of programs for OFWs". 

 

Barangay San Jose is the first OFW organization to have been formed in the municipality of Malilipot. During the orientation, there were residents of other barangays present and some have already signified interest to have their area visited too. 

RWO ARMM

COTABATO CITY – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OWWA-ARMM) conducted the 2017 Scholars’ Congress last December 20-21, 2017 at EM Manor Hotel and Convention Center, Cotabato City.

The event was graced by OIC Odin T. Abdula who delivered a meaningful and inspiring message which motivates the scholars in their professional growth.

OWWO III Bai Lejanie D. Vidal and Hamid K. Chio stated the purpose of the activity and labelled the expectations of the scholars.

Scholars’ Congress is an avowal of the OWWA-ARMM’s commitment to assist its scholars, not only in providing financial assistance, but also in the promotion of their holistic development as individuals”, Vidal said.

During the training proper, Ms. Noraida S. Chio, Senior Project Officer of The Asia Foundation (TAF) discussed “The Role of the Youth in Preventing Violent Extremism”. Afterwards, she gave a short activity about the topic. The scholars, by group, actively participated and chose their representative who will explain their outputs. Lastly, Ms. Chio gave the scholars an opportunity to have an open forum regarding the topic.

 

Cordillera Administrative Region

Rosana (not her real name) went to Cyprus to work as domestic worker. Just like thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), she went overseas with big dreams for her family.  And just like hundreds of OFWs who seemed to have ran out of luck, they were subjected to various inhumane condition that almost broke them, not only physically but also mentally. Her employer fed her food not fit for human consumption, either beyond expiration date or almost spoiled already; she was allowed to wash her clothes only once a month; she was forced to clean houses of her employer’s relatives, and her salary is not paid on time.  Ana’s (not her real name) story is almost as same as Rosana’s but this time, Ana was forced to take care not only her employer’s children but also her pets.  Ana had to groom and walk 4 dogs and 4 cats aside from the 2 children she had to take care.  Ana said she tried to endure the situation, until she developed skin allergy due to the pets. She went home with rashes and hives as reminders of her unfortunate experience.

These are just some of the conditions that our OFWs had to endure when they work overseas.  OWWA, as the lead government agency that serves the interest and welfare of OFWs, try its best to alleviate such condition by offering them programs and services such as the Balik-Pinas Balik Hanapbuhay (BPBH) Program. This program is a package of livelihood support/assistance intended to provide immediate relief to returning member-OFWs active or non-active who were:

1) Displaced by hostilities or wars/political conflicts, policy reforms or changes by host governments;

2) Victims of illegal recruitment or human trafficking or other distressful situations;

3) Distressed wards at the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Resource Centers who are due for repatriation;

4) Repatriated OWWA-members who were employed by foreign employers which are beset with financial difficulties due to economic conditions, such as construction and maintenance companies in Saudi Arabia

A total of 132 OFWs from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) received PhP20,000.00 cash assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to help them start or expand their existing business enterprise that would help them support their families. Baguio City and Benguet province has the highest recipients with 66 OFWs, second is Abra with 27, third is Ifugao with 20, Apayao with 9, Kalinga with 6, and Mt. Province with 4. Distressed OFWs can file their applications within 3 years from the latest date of their arrival in the Philippines. 

For those OFWs who may have the same experience, you can apply for the BPBH program at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-Cordillera Administrative Region (OWWA CAR) under the leadership of OIC Regional Director Evelyn C. Laranang. OWWA-CAR can be reached through hotline number 445-2260 or mobile numbers 0999-994-9296 or 0917-500-1294. (END)

 

From left is OIC Regional Director Evelyn C. Laranang with George Lubin of DOLE Abra (right in blue t-shirt) personally awarded the livelihood cash assistance to OFWs from Abra during the Abra OFW Family Day 2017.

(From L-R) Windelin Marquez (OIC-PSD OWWA), Evelyn C. Laranang (OIC-RD OWWA), Apayao Congresswoman Eleanor Bulut-Begtang, Darwin Hombrebueno of DOLE-Apayao Provincial Office  with the Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay Program beneficiaries .

(At the center) Evelyn C. Laranang (OIC-RD of OWWA CAR) with ViceMayor Edison Bilog (in blue) of Baguio City awarded the livelihood cash assistance to OFWs under the Balik Pinas Balik Hanap Buhay Program during the Baguio-Benguet OFW Family Day  on December  9, 2017.

Awarding of Checks to OFW beneficiaries under Balik Pinas Balik Hanap Buhay during the celebration of 2017 Ifugao Family Day. Said checks were awarded by Family welfare Officer Flordeliza Calacal , Lourdes I. Estocapio (OWWO III) and  Avelina Manganip of DOLE Provincial Office.

RWO V

Naga City - Fifty six (56) OFWs braved the Enterprise Development Loan Program’s (EDLP) self-assessment examination on Thursday, January 8, 2017 at the Migrant Resource Center Training room. 

 

The self-assessment examination is part of the first phase of the series of three trainings that a business loan applicant must undergo free of charge. The result shall make or break the journey of the applicant to advance to the second phase of the business loan facility of OWWA.  

 

Those who shall make it to the examination shall pursue the 2nd level which is the visit to demo farms and successful business enterprises.

 

The Enhanced Enterprise Development Training (EEDT) of OWWA is one of the requirements for endorsement to Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) with the certificate of completion given to an applicant after completing the three (3) trainings. 

 

There was a total of 77 attendees during the training but only 56 took the exam. The reason for this was some of those present are not OFWs but dependents who shall be attorney – in – fact of the borrowers. The departing OFWs shall have their representatives manage the business and attend on the nitty – gritty of the business loan process.

 

All went home equipped with knowledge on financial literacy as the modules discussed were mostly on the concept of investments. It was made clear that OWWA RWO5 only endorses applications to LBP for approval of any loan application. 

RWO V

Iriga City – Aiming to provide local and overseas employment opportunities to the locals of Rinconada area, the City Government of Iriga hosted its Jobs Fair activity at the La Consolacion College on December 28, 2017.
 
Public Employment Service Office Manager Nestor Awa said that “this move is to promote Iriga as a city of character to protect job seekers for overseas employment from illegal recruiters and continuously monitor the safety of the overseas workers.”
 
The aim of the jobs’ fair is to provide employment counseling, job matching, job referrals, and employment information services to contribute in the improvement of the labor industry of the city. Recruitment agencies for both local and overseas placement participated in the jobs fair activity.
 
OWWA RWO5 took part, along with the other line agencies, in attending to the needs and concerns of some applicants and would-be-OFWs. 

RWO V

Ligao City - The City of sunflowers boosted the sunshine of hope for its OFW communities on December 18, 2017. Its Local Chief Executive, Mayor Patricia Gonzales - Alsua initiated the symposium for migrant workers in celebration of the Month of Overseas Filipino and International Migrants Day. The dissemination of programs and services of different stakeholders pertaining to migration and understanding issues raised by international migration to development were the rationale of the symposium.

 

OWWA RWO5 presented its programs and services to 100 migrant workers and residents of the city. Some of the attendees are representatives of OFWs. They were keen in listening while others made the orientation interactive by asking queries relative to what programs they want to avail with the agency. 

 

The National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) presented their programs for undocumented migrant workers through its area coordinator, Kristine Oliveros. 

 

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration strengthened their campaign on anti illegal recruitment through its Labor Employment Officer, Jayla Bitudio. She further discussed the role of their agency in terms of deployment.

 

The mayor of Ligao was grateful that government agencies have programs readily available for those working or have worked abroad, documented and undocumented. Mayor Alsua shared that she was once an OFW herself and that she understands the plight of working away from home.

National Capital Region
25 Filipino Domestic Workers (DW) recruited by Magsaysay Global Services, Inc. bound for Japan attended the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) conducted by RWO-NCR at the OWWA Training Center, Bocobo, Manila on 28 February 2017.
Magsaysay Global Services, Inc. is a land-based manpower and human resources services that provides strategic recruitment, staffing and management services to different countries. In partnership with Japanese-based recruitment agency Pasona Group, Inc., the agency has recently deployed the Filipino DWs to Japan after 400 hours of successful training.
The Japanese government implemented the National Strategic Special Zone allowing the hiring of hundreds of foreign nationals to engage in housekeeping services in several zones such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kanagawa in July 2016. The system also provides foreign workers to receive a special visa which permits them to stay in Japan for a maximum of three years. The foreign domestic workers are hired considering the increasing need of Japan to assuage their citizens of lessening the pressures of domestic work to maintain their jobs.
Ms. Jonalyn Abila, who is now working as a DW in Japan, emphasized the importance of the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) and said that “the program helped me understand the written contents of my contract and made me aware of the rules and regulations in working with the Japanese.”  Ms. Edelyn Golloso, another DW in Japan, said that “PDOS helped us to be familiar with the culture of the host country where we will be working.” She added that “The stress management training also helped me and my fellow OFWs because it teaches us how to handle problems in a calm way.” Lastly, she said that “the information on government programs and services are very important in guiding us on how to avail them.”  
The OWWA Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) is a whole day orientation covering topics on employment contract, country of destination, stages of the OFW’s life abroad, and health and safety measures. It also teaches financial literacy in equipping OFWs with skills in managing their finances while working abroad. 
 

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