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The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration XII conducted a 2-day Values Formation Training to OFW Family Circles (OFCs) of the Municipality of Alabel in Sarangani Province  last August 17-18, 2017.


A total of thirty nine (39) OFWs and dependents attended the two-day training. Officer-in-Charge Marlyn E. Jamero believes that such undertakings must always be given to them in order sustain their organization and would increase their desire to become a reliable and sensible part of a group.


This 2-day training aims to engage OFC Members in meaningful and active explorations of one-self and strengthen interpersonal relationship among group members. It also sought to strengthen teamwork and confront issues facing the group in order to work together for effective and efficient attainment of organizational goals and objectives.

OFC participants portray the life of OFWs as part of the Role Play activity.

"Maraming salamat po sa OWWA sa pagbigay sa amin ng ganitong training. Napakarami po naming natutunan na pwede naming magamit upang mas mapatibay at mas mapaganda pa ang aming samahan.", said Ms. Shirly Taripe, President of Kawas OFW Family Association, as she expressed her gratitude to the agency. 


Over the years, OWWA has been organizing OFW Family Circles (OFCs) consisting of returning OFWs and OFW dependents.  This formation activity provides an opportunity for OFWs and their dependents to engage in various social interventions that would enhance their capabilities and enrich their present social and economic status.

OIC PSD Chief Christelyn R. Caceres interviews one of the participants after the Pass the Message activity.
Ladol OFC President Aurelia Catarman proudly presents their Action Plan for the Year 2017
FWO Charles Kevin L. Bataga (in blue) together with the OFC members of Kawas OFW Family Association and Ladol OFW Family Association.


Former OWWA scholar now establishes career as OFW

Mr. Olivier Togonon’s father was a seafarer for twenty-eight years. As luck would have it, he would also become an OFW himself.


His journey started through one of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s (OWWA’s) academic scholarship programs.


“I was a scholar of OWWA under the Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program (CMWSP) from 2004 until graduation,” Mr. Togonon said.


The CMWSP is a scholarship program extended to migrant workers and/or their immediate descendants taking up four- or five-year course in the priority fields of Science and Technology with educational assistance of P60,000.00 per academic year.


Mr. Togonon took up Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering at Central Philippine University after passing the qualifying examination administered by the Department of Science and Technology.


Upon graduating, he worked in different companies in Manila before deciding to apply in Malaysia.

Top student: Mrs. Elva Togonon, Olivier’s mother, accompanies him at every commemoration ceremony.

“I always wanted to work abroad to seek experience and a different culture and environment,” he said. “And due to the needs of having a better income as well as professional growth, I pursued working abroad seriously.”


He eventually landed a job as a patent paralegal in a law firm specializing in intellectual property. The work required practitioners who are well-versed in “life sciences” like engineering or chemistry, so his experience proved a boon for the company.


Contrary to what he expected, he also adjusted quickly to being in a new country.


“Adjustments were just in the matter of getting used to the new culture,” Mr. Togonon said. “Being away with my family has been quite easy with the help of technology; different ways of communication are available as long as you can connect to the internet.”


When asked what else he would like to achieve, he said, “I want my family to have a comfortable life, especially my parents.”


He also added, “In the near-future, we plan to start a business.”


Mr. Togonon is also thankful for the opportunity he received from OWWA.


“I would like to express my gratitude to my OWWA family. We, scholars, are grateful for being given chances to travel, learn and meet different people in all the conventions and also for making us part of the activities,” he said. “I hope OWWA can reach and help more OFW families and make their dreams more achievable through their programs.”

From L-R: Ms. Conie Binarao, Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of the Programs and Services Division; Candy Maristela, a former OFW; Ms. Sara Togonon (no relation), Overseas Workers Welfare Officer III; Mr. Togonon; and Mr. James Mendiola, OIC.


About 25 currently enrolled students, whose parents are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), were officially accepted as new batch of scholars under the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (OFWDSP) and Education for development Scholarship Program (EDSP). The ceremony was held on 16 August 2017 at RWO IV-A Training Room where they were given orientation on the programs’ guidelines and copies of individual Scholarship Agreement for their signature.


The orientation program was facilitated by Ms. Rachel Molino of ETU. RWO IV-A ETU-Head, Mr. Octaviano congratulated all those who are present and  stressed before the scholars and respective parents/guardians the importance of abiding with the Scholarship Agreement to ensure unhampered enjoyment of  scholarship grant.


“Scholars and parents/legal guardians should fully understand the scholarship programs and guidelines because both have the contractual obligations to fulfill” he added.


Under the ODSP, 21 new scholars (currently enrolled in college) for school year 2017 to 2018 are entitled to financial assistance grant amounting to PhP 20, 000.00 per school year. While the EDSP, 4 new scholars (currently enrolled in college) are entitled to financial assistance grant amounting to PhP 60, 000.00 per school year. The qualified students are entitled to continue their baccalaureate degree in any college or university.


RWO IV-A is still receiving applicants for currently enrolled (first semester SY 2017-2018) qualified dependents of OWWA member-OFWs until we reach the maximum slots of 30 for EDSP and 60 for ODSP.


As of 2017, the OWWA RWO IV-A has 154 maintained scholars under the ODSP and 50 under the EDSP.

OWWA-RWO VI conducts 2-week computer training workshop in Pototan

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office (OWWA RWO) VI recently conducted a two-week Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills training workshop in Pototan, Iloilo this August.


Fifteen (15) members of the St. Joseph Movement of Migrants & their Families went to the activity at the Pototan Campus of the West Visayas State University (WVSU) during the dates of August 12th to 13th and 19th to 20th.


Mr. Ricky Cordova, Information Technology Instructor, served as the workshop’s facilitator.


Basic computer fundamentals and skills like desktop hardware familiarization, typing, and the use of common Microsoft Office programs and the Internet were taught to the participants during the event.


OWWA RWO VI’s ICT skills training is part of the Tulay-Aral program, a customizable module provided free for OFWs and their beneficiaries since 2008.


A total forty-nine (49) overseas Filipino workers and dependents attended the Demo Farm Immersion and Visitation spearheaded by Overseas Workers Welfare Administration XII last August 16, 2017 held at VMotril’s Farm, Brgy. Crossing Rubber, Tupi, South Cotabato.


The activity is part of the Social Preparation Stage of the OFWs and dependents who applied under the OFW – Enterprise Development and Loan Program (OFW –EDLP) of the agency.


This aims to provide them with necessary insights and knowledge as they engage in their chosen businesses. Furthermore, it provides them with valuable ideas on how to properly address issues concerning financial, marketing and management aspects in an entrepreneurial endeavor.

OFW Victoria E. Motril shares the secret of her Organiz Farm

OFW Victoria E. Motril, former MOFYA Entrepreneurship Awardee and one of the Resource Speakers, emphasized the need to assess the target market in putting-up a business.


As one of the region’s most renowned entrepreneurs, OFW Motril offers lectures and seminars in order to help others especially her co-OFWs. "Kailangang alam mo ang papasukin mo at kung papaano ito pakikibagayan. Normal lang ang maging mahirap sa simula, ang mahalaga positibo at may dedikasyon ka sa ginagawa mo.", she advised them.


Officer-in-Charge Marlyn E. Jamero said that the activity is just one of the agency’s mechanisms in providing support to the OFWs business endeavors. She further said that seminars and trainings in partnership with various government agencies are also given to them to ensure continuous learning.


The OFW – Enterprise Development and Loan Program, formerly known as OFW Reintegration Program (OFW –RP), is an enterprise development intervention and loan facility of OWWA in partnership with Land Bank of the Philippines.


The program aims to help OFWs and their families in the establishment of viable business enterprise that will provide them with steady income stream and create employment opportunities in their community.

Resource Speaker Raymil O. Castillo, MBA is a former Bank Manager in the shares his inputs on how to start a Transport Business.
OIC Marlyn E. Jamero (Center in blue) and FWO Celine D. Travilla together with the OFW applicants of OFW-EDLP


The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration conducted "Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay!" (BPBH) Orientation and Entrepreneurial Development Training last August 10, 2017 at Mang Gorio Bahay Kainan, Koronadal City.


The activity was attended and participated by more than ninety (90) distressed and displaced overseas Filipino workers.


In order to ensure the sustainability of their chosen enterprises, OWWA provided entrepreneurial development trainings in Financial Literacy, Basic Accounting and Business Plan Making to guarantee that applicants were equipped with proper knowledge as they engage in business.


The program beneficiaries may utilize their acquired skills, either for self-employment or for managing livelihood projects. Moreover, they can also choose among the wide variety of trades like Foods and Drinks, Online Business, Agriculture and Fisheries, Electronics, etc.

OIC-Marlyn E. Jamero giving her message to all BPBH Trainees

Officer-in-Charge Marlyn E. Jamero in her welcome message acknowledged the noble sacrifices of OFWs in foreign shores. She encouraged them to utilize wisely the cash livelihood assistance from OWWA in starting a new life in the country.


"Marami pong salamat sa OWWA. Malaking tulong bilang panimula ang BPBH. Gagawin ko ang aking makakaya upang mapalago ang aking napiling kabuhayan.", OFW Megelende F. Ison said.


As of this writing, the office already released more than Two Hundred Fifty (250+) livelihood cash assistance and starter kits to program applicants from January to July of the year 2017. Furthermore, series of monitoring activities to the program beneficiaries are conducted to ensure continuous development of their chosen enterprises.


The Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! is a package of livelihood assistance consisting of cash assistance amounting to Twenty Thousand Pesos (P 20,000), Entrepreneurship Development Training and other services intended to provide immediate relief to returning distressed or displaced member-OFWs.



The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration XII participated in the 2017 DOLE – RCC Sports Festival kick-off ceremony last August 11, 2017 held at DOLE XII compound, Koronadal City.


OWWA along with its partner agencies namely Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), Employees' Compensation Commission (ECC), National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) and Regional Tripartite and Wages Productivity Board (RTWPB) composed the Team Attached Agencies or "Team AA".


The four competing teams: DOLE Team A – Labor Team headed by Dir. Sisinio B. Cano, DOLE Team B – Employment Team headed by ARD Yahya A. Centi, Team TESDA headed by Engr. Edgar A. Sales and Team Attached Agencies, will compete for various sports like Volleyball, Darts, Badminton and Basketball.

OWWA Employees as proud members of Team AA during the Grand Entrance

DOLE Regional Director Sisinio B. Cano in his message reinvigorated everyone to play well, give their best and never forget to enjoy every moment. He also expressed his gratitude to all agencies under the umbrella of DOLE for their active participation.


The activity also highlighted the ceremonial lighting of the Friendship Torch and the recitation of the Oath of Sportsmanship. Each team is very eager to be declared as "Champions" for this year’s sports festival.


Meanwhile, Officer-in-Charge Marlyn E. Jamero encouraged all participating OWWA employees to embody the spirit of sportsmanship and be able to showcase their God-given skills. "Isa itong pagkakataon upang maipakita na ang mga taga-OWWA ay may angking-galing din sa isports at sa marami pang mga bagay.", she added.

OIC – Chief, PSD Christelyn R. Caceres actively danced to the rhythm of Zumba music

The activity is in line with the 84th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Labor and Employment. It is an annual activity spearheaded by the agency in partnership with its attached agencies and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The closing and awarding ceremony will be on December 08, 2017.

OIC Marlyn E. Jamero (4th from right) together with the employees of OWWA XII before the program opened.

First OFW Business Loan availee of Antique on rebuilding life after Typhoon Yolanda

Mrs. Reina Manzan, a former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) from Israel and the first availee of the 2-Billion OFW Reintegration Program or 2B ORP (now known as the OFW-Enterprise and Development Loan Program) of the Province of Antique, realized how lucky she and her family is to have a livelihood after suffering from what was one of the worst disasters to hit the province back in 2013.


Manzan, who originally hailed from Lemery, Iloilo, worked as a domestic helper in Israel from 2007 until 2011, the year where her employer passed away.  


Mrs. Manzan, along with her husband Ireneo and their two children, relocated to Hamtic, Antique before Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ (international name: Haiyan) hit Western Visayas on November 2013; like many of the homes and livelihoods in the province, theirs was one of those devastated.


Fortunately, the Manzan family started to get their lives back on track with the help of Reina’s savings, a portion of which she invested in a motorcycle parts shop in their home, during her four-year stint as an OFW.


Though they enjoyed a moderately successful business because of the many Antiqueños who relied on motorcycles and tricycles for their livelihoods, they applied for the 2B ORP from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) so they could expand their shop by getting more stocks and adding a sari-sari store.


They also managed to buy a banca which they used to catch fish and seafood that they sold to nearby cities and towns.

Mrs. Reina Manzan
With her husband Ireneo, a former farmer.

Through it all, she remains proud of one thing: “I never missed payment. I always pay back my loan on time.”


Currently, she is organizing an OFW Family Circle (OFC) group in Hamtic to, as she puts it, “help fellow OFWs like her be more proactive in investing and taking care of their money”. 


The Uswag Magpet OFW Association in partnership with the Public OFW Desk Office – LGU Magpet initiated a Community Outreach Program dubbed as "Tulong mo, Kinabukasan ko" last August 1, 2017 in Kisandal Elementary School at Brgy. Kisandal, Magpet, North Cotabato.


A total of One Hundred Fifty Eight (158) students were able to receive school supplies and relief goods from the collective efforts and generosity of OFC members and OFWs in Magpet.


The program included awarding of school supplies to Fifteen (15) scholars of the association, a variety show prepared by the beneficiaries and Parlor Games.


OFC President Maricar A. Angeles said that the activity is one of their organizational goals as an empowered OFW group that serves the poor and the least favored.  In her message, she emphasized the need of helping others especially the young ones. "Ang OFWs ng Magpet ay hinding-hindi po magsasawa sa pagtulong sa inyong lahat", she assured them.


Officer-in-Charge Kristine Marie H. Sison commended the Uswag Magpet OFW Association for initiating such worthwhile activities. She also extended her gratitude to the local government unit for its continued support to the programs and services of the agency especially to its Family Support and Development Program.


As of this writing, the association is planning to conduct another Community Outreach Program at Amabel Elementary School next month.  


The Uswag Magpet OFW Association was organized under the Community Organizing Program of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration XII last year. The association already conducted various activities like Feeding Programs within the locality and has been an active partner of the LGU since then.

OFC President Maricar A. Angeles awarded school supplies to their scholars.
The UMOA Officers  (in lavender) together with Ms. Jocelyn P. Tardo, PODO-designate (inr red), Teachers of Kisandal Elementary School with their scholars (children in 1st row). 
Program beneficiaries rendered an intermission number during the variety show
OFC Members facilitated the distribution of meals and relief goods to the students


We often hear that old Filipino proverb "Kung may tiyaga, may nilaga". However, for OFW Gina Balagot Nesperos, we must not only be patient and hard working in many things in order to have "nilaga". Life has many delicious Filipino foods to offer, it has afritada, menudo, sinigang, adobo, and who wouldn’t crave for lechon?


The following story is neither about a successful Filipino Chef nor an elaboration of a wide Filipino selection of palatable foods and condiments. This is a success story of an OFW-recipient of OWWA’s 2B OFW Reintegration Program who tasted the various flavors of life. This is how her story begun.


OFW Ma. Gina Balagot Nesperos was blessed with dedicated and hardworking parents. Her childhood life in Baranggay New Pangasinan, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat had been very memorable because unlike any other children in their community they never experienced hunger and poverty. Her parents were able to raise all six of them in a life abundantly blessed with love, compassion and respect for one another.


After she graduated in college, she found the love of her life in her childhood best friend, Samuel Nesperos.  A year after they got married, they decided to go to Metropolitan Manila hoping to find the fortune they dreamt for their starting family. Her husband worked as a Security Guard in small company while OFW Gina decided to work as a Supervisor in a shopping center rather than teaching in school.


Unfortunately, their combined income was not enough to sustain the needs of their growing family. OFW Gina being the braver and more adventurous decided to work as a caregiver in Taiwan for four years. Similar to most overseas Filipino workers all over the world, Gina is blessed to have a very nice employer.


For four (4) long years since 1994, she never experienced maltreatment and other unfortunate events. However, her greatest struggle was her desire to be with her family again. She seldom contacts her husband and two children that time due to communication constraints in their community in Isulan. She then directed her attention in joining various Filipino communities in Taiwan that aim to give emotional support to OFWs.


In 1998, after they were able to raise the amount they dreamt to start their own business, OFW Gina decided to go back to the Philippines and be with her family.


They started their Buy & Sell of Agricultural Products with only P 20,000.00 capital. At first, it was very difficult because they only have a very minimal capital and it was so hard to get the trust of farmers in their community. But their dreams as a couple truly prevailed. The hard work, patience, and their dedication bore more than

OFW Gina and her husband were able to acquire properties because of their hard work and dedication.
When she was still an OFW, she was also an active member of various OFW cricles in Taiwan. (OFW in red jacket)

what they expected. Ten years after their opening, they were able to make their business grow, and acquire vehicles and various equipment for it.


Life, however, has its own mechanism of challenging us. In the year 2010, while their business continued to grow, Samuel after he got involved to vehicular accident suffered a mysterious disease that even doctors cannot diagnose. One by one, piece by piece, their investments went nowhere.


Gina at this point, asked for guidance from the Father Almighty. She considered this as her life’s greatest trial. Fortunately, her prayers were answered but all their investments were now just part of history.


In order to rise from the depths of these downfalls and bankruptcy, she sought assistance from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Land Bank of the Philippines in 2012 and applied to its 2B OFW Reintegration Program. A year after she applied, her application was approved. She used this as a capital to support their buy & sell business which, by then, was still recovering.


OFW Gina and Samuel took the lead and personally managed their business the second time around. They prayed heartily and worked hard, they used the money they loaned out from OWWA-LBP as their working capital and parcel of it to purchase another vehicle for delivery.


OWWA and Land Bank serve as answered prayer for them. Both agencies continue to support and guide them every step of the way. According to Samuel, without the support of these two agencies, all their efforts surely faded away.


As of today, their buy & sell business is one of Isulan’s most promising business. They were able to acquire almost seven vehicles, farm lands, a personal vehicle, a house, provide employment to at least five families and donate huge amount of money to churches and various charitable institutions.


They are also active members of OFW New Pangasinan Isulan Sector OFW Association, an award-winning OFC in Region XII. They also sponsor various community outreach programs and provide scholarships to poor but deserving students in their community.


In an interview, OFW Ma. Gina B. Nesperos, said that the secret to success is actually not a secret. For her, sharing what God has given you is the best way to thank Him for all the blessings that he gave. This is also her family’s best way to manifest their faith.


"Alagaan mo ang tiwala na ibibigay ng ibang tao sa iyo. Huwag mong sirain ito sapagkat isa ito sa mga bagay na maaaring magdulot sa iyo ng mas marami pang pagkakataon." Gina said. She also emphasized the importance of believing in the beauty of your dream for nothing is impossible if we work for it.


Indeed, her story is a living proof that we must dream beyond our dreams. We dream more than enough not for our own sake but for all the people that count on us. It is okay to be contented with what we already have but it is far better to continue dreaming while we live.

OFW Gina considers her family as her inspiration in achieving all of her dreams in life. Her first born (in blue) is also an OFW working at Taiwan. Her second child is a businessman in their locality while her two boys (center and rightmost) are still in High School.
As a former OFW, she believes that it is important to help and assist OFW families. OFW Gina is an active officer of OFW New Pangasinan Isulan Sector; an OFC formed by OWWA XII in the year 2004.