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National Capital Region

John Paul Decena, scholar of Batch 5 of the OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (ODSP), recently graduated with a Bronze Award from Dr. Carlos S. Lanting College on 31 March 2017 visited the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office – National Capital Region (OWWA RWO-NCR).


After 3 years of hard work and sacrifices, John Paul Decena has finally graduated with flying colors at Dr. Carlos S. Lanting College on 31 March 2017. The only thing left for him to finish is his On-The-Job Training (OJT) before he could finally get on board as a Marine Engineer.


Contrary to popular belief that most of the OFWs are financially stable, John Paul’s family has to manage the meager salary of his parents to provide their daily needs and education.


Family life


OFW Fidelito S. Decena, father of John Paul, works as Fabricator Welder in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His monthly salary is not enough to provide for his family’s daily needs. His mother works as part-time manicurist and pedicurist. John Paul recalled that once they experienced eating meals twice a day and sometimes they simply eat what food is available on their table. “My father’s salary was usually delayed that is why we have to adjust. Sometimes the money we have is not enough until my father’s next remittance will arrive then we will have complete meals. However, my mother will always find a way to get us through those tough times,” he said.


Being the eldest of the 2 siblings, John Paul plans to help his family financially once he becomes a Marine Engineer, “I plan to earn and save money to be able to help my family and also for myself. After I finish my internship, I plan to work right away; I’m not aiming at a certain company, the company name doesn’t matter as long as I can get on board.”


John Paul dedicates his success to his parents who are always around to support him. During his graduation day, he surprised his mother with his scholastic award. “My mom wasn’t expecting any award because I didn’t tell her that I will be graduating with honors. The moment when we were at the stage of the school to receive the medal, my mother keeps crying because of overwhelming happiness,” he said. John Paul wishes his father is also present during his graduation but he has to work. He said that he is very thankful to his father for his sacrifices and perseverance to keep his family happy. He continued that, “even though we are distance apart, you are always there for us, to provide for all our needs. Thank you for everything and I love you dad.”




John Paul learnt about the scholarship from his father. He applied for the scholarship because he knew it would be a financial relief for his family. “The scholarship is a big help because my school expenses will be lessen.  I am also a Dean’s Lister so I was also able to get another discount in my tuition fee and because of that, we are able to save money,” he said.


He expresses his appreciation to OWWA for the scholarship. He hopes the scholarship program will continue so other dependents of OFWs will have the opportunity to complete their education especially those who are struggling financially.


He also gave an advice to his fellow scholars, “To all scholars, just continue to study hard and never give up even if there are challenges along they way. Focus on your studies to maintain your required grade to ensure your scholarship. Again, study hard because it is only you – who will benefit from it.” 


John Paul Decena’s mother putting on the bronze medal on her son.
John Paul Decena, ODSP Batch 5 scholar, from Dr. Carlos S. Lanting College graduated with a Bronze Award on 31 March 2017
John Paul Decena together with his mother and sister during his graduation day.
Ms. Joyce Lorenzo of the Education and Training Unit together with John Paul Decena

2017 Migrant Workers Day, A tribute to OFW’s and their Families

7 June 2017, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office IV-A celebrates the 2017 Migrant Workers Day at Sta. Rosa City Auditorium, Sta. Rosa Laguna.


A total of 871 OFWs, OFW Family Circles (OFCs) and their Families and OWWA partners/ Stakeholders in Calabarzon participated in the event with the year’s theme: “Magkasangga Para sa Kapakanan, Kabuhayan at Kalusugan ng mga OFWs”.


The activity started with an Invocation and singing of our National Anthem followed by the Opening remarks from RWO IV-A OIC Director Julia F. Fabian and a video clip from   OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac who delivered the good news to all the participants about   the new updates on OWWA Programs and Services.


Department of Labor and Employment IV-A Regional Director, Hon. Ma. Zenaida Angara-Campita’s message was delivered by her staff, Ms. Dulce Amor Ledesma expressed that“ Ang pagiging OFW ay hindi madaling desisyon. May mga nagtatagumpay at mayroon din naming nabibigo na maibigay ang magandang buhay para sa kanilang pamilya…”


One of our guest speaker, Representative Arlene B. Arcillas, of 1st District of Laguna, prepared her written message and was delivered by RWO IV-A OIC Director, Julia F. Fabian stressing, “…There’s a lot of stories about overseas Filipino workers. Not just blue collar workers but also white collar employees Filipinos have shown hard work and dedication to their jobs.


 Spearheaded by OIC-Regional Director, Julia F. Fabian, OWWA awarded checks to nine (9) Livelihood Projects Beneficiaries of Balik-Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay; Jacinto N. Alemania, Woody C. Palunday, Jaime E. Caylas, Florencio D. Dela Cruz, Luis L. Alipit, Nick P. Chua, Danilo D. Casor, and Teodolo B. Ocampo respectively. Also, OWWA awarded checks to two (2) ODSP scholars, Lhery Jane Dela Cruz and Jeanille Alin and Tuloy-Aral Scholar, John David De Leon. 


The program continued with fun and entertainment. ODSP Scholar Arnel Sabido serenades our OFCs and their families with his heartwarming song, “You”, while the OFCs showed their talents in singing and dancing as they present their Chorale Group Presentation by singing the OWWA Hymn and Galing ng Pilipino by Gary Valenciano.


On the other hand, a medical mission was also set at the entrance of the auditorium spearheaded by Sta. Rosa City Health Officer-in-Charge, Dr. Soledad Cunanan and her team to conduct health screening for blood pressure and blood sugar.   


The activity was concluded with the awarding of winners for the Chorale Group Presentation and raffle draws.


Lastly, Programs and Services Division Chief, Francisca P. Lanuza gave her closing remarks to those who participated the event.  


OWWA-ARMM celebrates 35th Anniversary

COTABATO CITY – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OWWA-ARMM) celebrates the 35th OWWA Anniversary last May 19, 2017 at OWWA-ARMM Training Center, Cotabato City.


The purpose of this activity is to celebrate, empower and motivate OWWA-ARMM employees by recognizing their work and contributions to the agency.


Regional Director Amy B. Crisostomo, in her inspirational message, expressed her gratitude to all the staff of OWWA-ARMM for their dedication and hard-work to uphold and deliver quality services to its clients.


The highlight of the event is the Performance Pledge by the employees to refresh, remember and learn by heart the commitments they’ve made.


The employees were given token of appreciation to recognize their contributions to the agency.


The event ended with a sumptuous dinner together. It was a night filled with games, songs, and laughter for OWWA-ARMM family.




Koronadal City – OWWA XII, in its utmost desire to provide OFWs with worthy and valuable information with its reintegration programs and services initiated the conduct of 1st OFWPreneur Congress last June 21, 2017 at KCC Convention Center, General Santos City.


A total of 541 Overseas Filipino Workers comprised of OFW Family Circles,  Enterprise Development and Loan Program (EDLP) Applicants, Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay (BPBH) awardees and availees  and various OFW stakeholders in the government convened for the 1st OFWPreneur Congress dubbed as "Magkasangga para sa Kapakanan at Kabuhayan ng mga OFWs.".


Various OFW stakeholders in the government discussed their reintegration program initiatives and services that could be availed by the modern heroes. Among them: Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Technical Education and Skills Authority (TESDA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).


The event is one of the agency’s ways to promote its reintegration programs that generally aims to impart knowledge to the OFW community with various entrepreneurial techniques and strategies in order for them to be reintegrated to the society.


Atty. Llewelyn D. Perez, Officer-in-Charge of General Administrative Service (GAS) Division, said in her message that OWWA as an agency tasked to promote and protect the welfare and interest of OFWs and their families, continuous to develop innovative reintegration programs and services, all for the betterment of the OFW community. She also assured the full support of the agency to all OFWs who wanted to engage into worthwhile business endeavors. Dir. Benny I. Reyes of Regional Operations Coordination Service (ROCS) Division also graced the event.


Meanwhile, it also served as an avenue for the agency to recognize the outstanding milestones of OFW-Entrepreneurs in the SOCSCKSARGEN region. It also showcased various products of renowned OFW Family Circles (OFCs) in the region.


Thirty (30) distressed Overseas Filipino Workers also received Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Livelihood Cash Assistance amounting to P 20,000.00 each.


As one of the 2B OFW Reintegration Program recipients, Gina B. Nesperos of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat takes pride to be recognized by the agency. She said that this recognition motivated her to become an even better OFWpreneur and be an inspiration to many more modern heroes.


Other OFWPrenuer awardees are the following: Jennie Porras-Ropales of Mlang, North Cotabato for Land Based Category; Capt. Ronal W. Sarmiento of Genenral Santos City for Sea Based Category; Emilia L. Canto of Pres. Quirino, Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Recipient; and Old Polacion Maitum OFW Family Association for Group Category.


Other government agencies and social partners were also present in the event to provide immediate questions and actions to OFWs inquiries and concerns, to wit:  Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), Social Security System (SSS), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Manulife Insurance Company and Department of Agriculture.


Officer-in-Charge Marlyn E. Jamero is very optimistic that the concluded event will be very beneficial to all Overseas Filipino Workers who are planning to engage in business. Further, she reminded them to remain courageous and patient despite the challenge they will meet along the way. 

Atty. Perez during her inspirational talk.
OFW Family Circles who joined in the Trade Fair Exhibit
Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Awardees
OFW Gina B. Nesperos giving her inspirational message to all attendees.
Competent personnel from various government agencies who managed the OFW Help Desk
OFC President Rosa D. Laguindam of Old Poblacion Maitum OFW Family Association during her inspirational message.
Jennie P. Ropales, OFW for more than two decades to four countries, getting emotional as she shares her inspiring story.
BPBH awardee Emilia L. Canto receives her Plaque of Recognition from [L-R] Oic Jamero, Atty. Llewelyn Perez and Dir. Benny I. Reyes after her message.
Capt. Ronald W. Sarmiento though physically not present in the event gave a message through recorded video.
[Speakers L to R] : Leonard V. Flores, Chief TIDS – DTI XII; Jeanette E. Escaño, Regional Coordinator – NRCO XII; Lixton M. Melendez, Account Officer – Land Bank of the Philippines
[Speakers L to R] : Helen Sambile, Chief Regiistration Division – CDA XII; Christelyn R. Caceres, OIC Chief, Programs and Services Division – OWWA XII; Engr. Richard Amparo, Provicial Director – TESDA XII

[Speakers L to R] : Edgar A. Soguilon, Supervising TIDS – DTI XII and Romel Patrick E. Tanghal, Supervising Economic Development Specialist – NEDA XII.



Rein Ronald Cruz. Bercasio, 21 years old, OWWA Scholar under the Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP), Batch 10. Rein is the middle child of OFW Loida Dominga A. Cruz and Renato L. Bercasio.


An inspirational story of a student whose vision and dreams turned into a reality as he graduated as a Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy at Lyceum of the Philippine University (LPU), Laguna.


Since he entered college, Rein is a consistent Dean’s Lister and active in all activities either extra-curricular or academic endeavor. In fact, Rein was awarded as one of the seventeen outstanding young students as Makabagong Rizal 2015 at Heritage Hotel, Manila.


Rein is a loving son and a brother. Despite of his father’s death at a very young age due to vehicular accident. Rein was motivated to finish his bachelor’s degree to give back to his mother’s unending love and sacrifices of working abroad. Now, those sacrifices was paid off, as he was also awarded as TOP 2 Most Outstanding Student during their Baccalaureate last May 16, 2017 at LPU, Laguna.


Rein is thankful for the support that he received from OWWA for the past 4 years. “I am really thankful to OWWA because of this financial assistance grant I was able to finish and pursue my college, and with that, maraming salamat po sa bumubuo ng OWWA.” he expressed.         


Currently, Rein was preparing for the upcoming Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Board Examination as he wishes to serve many Filipinos as a future Certified Public Accountant. 



National Capital Region

Engineer Carlos Miguel Cacatian, scholar of Batch 9 of the Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP), recently passed the 2017 Mechanical Engineering Board Examinations visited the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office – National Capital Region (OWWA RWO-NCR).


After more than 5 years, Engr. Carlos Miguel Cacatian has finally achieved his dream of becoming a Licensed Mechinal Engineer. He graduated from Mapua Institute of Technology on 20 February 2017 and immediately passed the Mechanical Board Examinations on 22 March 2017. Engr. Cacatian took his oath as a Licensed Mechanical Engineer at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on 1 May 2017.


Like most of the students, Engineer Cacatian also had his fair share of ups and downs during his college life. “I failed twice under the same professor. What hurts most is that I was already in my 4th year in college when I first failed,” he said. But instead of giving up, he was motivated to study harder to complete his education.


College life


Engr. Cacatian is the son of an OFW who works at the Off Shore Gas Company in New Orleans, United States of America. When asked on why he took up Mechanical Engineering, he said that his father greatly influenced him and he believes engineering is in demand with higher opportunity for employment. In his college days, he was active in extracurricular activities and was once a Treasurer of his school organization. In his first year, he joined a Goldberg making competition along with his batch mates. Engr. Cacatian passed his first 3 years in college with flying colors as he was part of the top 10 in his batch in the Engineering course. However, when he reached 4th year college, he failed two subjects under the same professor. When asked why he failed those subjects, Engr. Cacatian explained, “I failed my first subject because of the style of teaching of my strict professor. I also had a hard time because of the schedule of that subject; that subject is scheduled every Saturday morning but I had also classes every Friday night. As for the second subject, the passing grade for the final exam was 80 but I only got a grade of 79 that is why I failed the subject.”


Lessons Learned


Engr. Cacatian leaned on his family’s support when he failed his subjects. According to him, his family was a bit disappointed since he only had a year and a half to finish college without any failing mark but they were still there to encourage him to do better, “My family told me to study harder and improve my grades. They told me that I should pass that subject in the next term.” He learned a valuable lesson during the tough times that he encountered: Time Management. He stressed the importance of using one’s time wisely, “Time management is very important because it helps you to be productive. It is hard to waste one’s time.”  He also pointed out the importance of putting a lot of effort into studying by saying, “When I retook those failed subjects, I made sure to put all my effort into it to make sure that I will not fail again. I was afraid to fail again because I value my scholarship.”


EDSP Scholarship


Engr. Cacatian applied for the scholarship because he did not want to burden his family and he wanted to help his parents in paying his tuition. He feels thankful for the opportunity given to him and for helping him to become a better student, “I would like to thank OWWA for giving me the opportunity to become a scholar, it helped us a lot financially. I also feel grateful because I improved my study habits and became more responsible by managing my time wisely because I had to maintain my scholarship status.” He also gave an advice to the remaining scholars by saying, “Just focus and prioritize your studies. Also, you should not waste your time because you cannot bring it back anymore.”

Engineer Carlos Miguel Cacatian together with Education and Training Unit Head Vivian Velez


Engineer Carlos Miguel Cacatian together with his family.


Engineer Carlos Miguel Cacatian during his oath taking on 1 May 2017.

Carlos Miguel Cacatian during his graduation at Mapua Institute of Technology on 20 February 2017

National Capital Region

Gene Luche Battung, scholar of Batch 11 of the Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP), recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Air Link Aviation International College on 11 April 2017 visited the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office – National Capital Region (OWWA RWO-NCR).


Life in the Middle East


Gene left the Philippines when he was in Grade 5 to live in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) because his father will work as a Service Manager in Saudi Oger. His mother also stayed in KSA to take care of them. After graduating from Palm Crest International High School, Gene returned to the Philippines to pursue his college education. He felt lonely and incomplete because his parents were left behind in Riyadh. He said that, “Even my brother was with me in the Philippines, I felt at a loss because anything I need, my parents will always be there to provide. At the same time, I had to cope with the new life style and I got culture shock at first.”  He added that distance from his family for the first time did not hinder him from studying hard and graduating with Latin Honor. Being on his own during his college years was his source of motivation to make his parents proud.


College Life


When asked why he took the course in Aircraft Maintenance, Gene immediately answered that it was his dream since he was a child. He recalled that, “since I was a kid, every time I will be asked what I wanted to be when I grow up? My response will be “I want to become a Pilot”. I chose my course since it is related to the course that I originally wanted to take, which is flying.” Gene felt his college days were short-lived but he enjoyed it so much because he only completed his course in 3 years. He said that graduating from college at aged 18 is quite worrisome and if he is ready for the real world. The present struggle he is facing now is the fast paced world outside school.  After 3 years, Gene has succeeded in achieving a fraction of his dream to become a pilot with honor – Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Aircraft Maintenance Technology.


Struggles and Blessings


Even if he wanted to take a Flying course, Gene had to adjust due to financial constraints. “If given the opportunity I would take up a Flying course but due to financial constraints, I had to take up a different course. Definitely, I still do have a plan of studying again to become a Pilot.”


It was back in May 2016 when his parents returned to the Philippines because of the mandatory repatriation of the Philippine government. His father worked at Saudi Oger, one of the nine construction and maintenance companies which faced a financial crisis in Saudi Arabia. According to Gene’s father, Engineer Marcial Battung, he spent his own money to buy their plane tickets because they could no longer wait for the repatriation program of the government. Fortunately, Engr. Battung was recently hired as the Section Chief of the Fire Safety and Enforcement Education department of the Bureau of Fire Protection.


Future plans



Gene gave himself a timeline as well as viable options to help him achieve his dream of becoming a Pilot. “After I finish my 6-month internship at the Omni Aviation Corporation, I will complete all my requirements and take the licensure examination. From then, I have 2 viable options: first, is to continue working to be able to finance my studies and second, is to find a scholarship at any flying school,” he said.


EDSP Scholarship


Prior to the qualifying examination, Gene was not aware of the existence of the scholarship program of OWWA. He only found out about the EDSP when his school chose him, along with other students, to take the qualifying exams. “I felt blessed when I received that opportunity. I felt more blessed when the results came out that I was one out of the 3 passers from our school,” he said.


He is also thankful for the support that he received from OWWA for the past 3 years. “For everyone in OWWA, thank you so much for the help. Please continue your generous work. You have been instrumental to improve our lives - to me and also to other students and OFWs out there. Please continue doing your great job and God Bless you all,” he said.         


Gene inspires other scholars by quoting a popular author - “They should continue aspiring for their dreams and when they encounter times of hardships, they should always remember to seek the seed of triumph in every adversity. They should not lose hope when times get hard and remember that they are doing this not only for themselves but also for their parents who worked hard and suffered many sacrifices while working overseas.” 

RWO-NCR Director Emma V. Sinclair and EDSP Scholar Gene Luche Battung holding Gene’s medal for graduating as Magna Cum Laude


From L to R: PSD Chief Ma. Teresa Capa, RWO-NCR Director Emma V. Sinclair, EDSP Scholar Gene Luche Battung, Dolores Battung, Gene’s mother, and Engineer Marcial Battung, Gene’s father


From L to R: RWO-NCR Director Emma V. Sinclair, ETU head Vivian Velez, EDSP scholar Gene Luche Battung, Dolores Battung, PSD Chief Ma. Teresa Capa and Engineer Marcial Battung.


Gene Luche Battung together with his parents and brother during his graduation day


 Gene Luche Battung, EDSP Batch 11 scholar, from Air Link Aviation International College graduated Magna Cum Laude on 11 April 2017


OWWA conducts Summer Youth Camp for Scholars

Attended by twenty-three (23) scholars from the Education for Development Scholarship Program, the OFW Dependent Scholarship Program, and the Education and Livelihood Assistance Program, the activity carried   the theme "I Am An OWWA Scholar. I Choose to be Healthy. I Choose to be Excel. I Choose to be Me: Guiding the Scholars in making right Choices.”


The summer youth camp provided participants an avenue to discuss issues affecting the youth of today like peer pressure, teenage sexuality, academic pressure, and their role in nation-building. 

Overseas Workers Welfare Officer II, and Mr. Remon Albeza, Family Welfare Officer, pose with the OWWA scholars during the distribution of certificates


OWWA Region 1 personnel learn on basic earthquake preparedness

The officers and staff of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office I (OWWA RWOI) set on a basic lecture and orientation on earthquake preparedness on May 8, 2017 as part of its activities on emergency planning. 


Mr. Freddie C. Evangelista and Ms. Schezelle Kriska Janica O. Doctolero of the Office of Civil Defense Regional Office I (OCD R1) served as learning service providers for the basic orientation.


They discussed on the procedures in conducting an earthquake drill, along with other vital information in preparing for any unforeseen natural disasters.


The lecture revealed the Phivolcs report that of the top 10 provinces which are at risk to earthquakes, La Union and Pangasinan rank second and fourth, respectively.


The OCD officers also identified the earthquake exit in the OWWA RWOI office. They also commited to extend assistance in creating disaster management council of the OWWA RWOI.

           The officers and staff of the OWWA RWOI sat on a basic lecture and orientation on earthquake preparedness on May 8, 2017. 



Another batch of aspiring loan applicants underwent Enhanced Entrepreneurial Development Training conducted by the OWWA RWO 8 in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry-Leyte last May 25, 2017 at the Negosyo Center, Eastern Visayas State University Campus, Tacloban City and was attended by twenty-two (22) loan applicants from the different parts of the region.


Participants were individually taught on how to prepare business plan by the DTI-Representative Ms. Wenna Jo Mantua. She also gave a short discussion and briefing on business management to the participants and provided useful tips that they can use as future entrepreneurs.


Since January 2017, more than one hundred loan applicants, active and inactive OWWA members, already underwent EEDT and were endorsed to Land Bank of the Philippines- Sagkahan Branch for assessment and approval.


EEDT is part of the social preparation given by OWWA to applicants of the OFW-Enterprise Development Loan Program (OFW-EDLP), an enterprise development intervention and loan facility of OWWA, in partnership with Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) that intends to support enterprise development among OFWs and their families. 

Ms. Magbuan discussing business management to the participants of EEDT