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OWWA RWO VI trains newly formed OFC in Concepcion, Iloilo

In line with the drive of OWWA to develop OFW family circles into self-reliant groups, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office VI trained its newly formed OFW family circle in Concepcion, Iloilo on its Values Formation, Financial Literacy, and Savings Mobilization training courses on April 10-11, 2015.


According to Director Ron Lionel M. Bartolome, the OWWA Region VI office is currently mounting a savings mobilization campaign for its active OFW family groups.


“The values formation and financial literacy trainings are basic courses. Through these, we are able to impart the values, attitudes, understanding and decisiveness necessary for achievement and personal and family goals and also allow OFW family members to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources,” Bartolome said.


“The savings mobilization module, on the other hand, underscores organization of savings campaigns in preparation for the proposed livelihood projects of the OFCs,” he added.


Members of the Poblacion OFW Family Association of Concepcion (POFAC) appreciated the two-day training initiated by OWWA. OFC president Violeta Manderico considered the Values Formation training as an important eye-opener.


“The Values Formation learning experiences allowed us to clarify the values that we hold and reject. We also learned that as OFC members, we should also learn to recognize the potentials and problems of others to help them make maximum contributions,” Manderico said.


On the other hand, Larry Ortonio welcomed new concepts learned in the Financial Literacy and Savings Mobilization modules.


“We are now proposing a savings mobilization campaign on top of our monthly contribution so that we will be able to reach the target goal for start-up capital of our livelihood project as an OFC,” Ortonio said.


A total of twenty members of the OFC of Concepcion attended the said OWWA training.


OWWA LCO Shelly Mae Solis encourages personal reflections from participants after a group activity during the Values Formation orientation.

POFAC members participating in various activities of the Values Formation session during the first day of the OWWA training.

OFC members pose with the OWWA trainers after the Financial Literacy and Savings Mobilization lectures which concluded the two-day training.

OWWA Family Welfare Officers Jade Love M. Omapas and Sherwin M. Madayag discuss concepts in Financial Literacy.

OWWA RWO VI girds PESO Managers in Capiz

Recognizing the role of the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) managers in serving as a conduit between OWWA and its clients in the municipalities, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office VI conducted a PESO Managers’ Capability Building Training at the Vice Governor’s Hall, Provincial Capitol, Capiz last April 7, 2015.


The training was timed with the monthly PESO Managers Meeting of DOLE Region VI.


The capability building session include basic information on the programs and services of OWWA, and the importance and specific requirements for establishment of OFW Family Circles.


In addition, OWWA Officer Rizza Joy H. Mapa enlightened the PESO managers about the proper referral flow in receiving and endorsing welfare cases as well as solutions to common welfare complaints.


She also discussed the memorandum of agreement between the local government unit and OWWA for the creation of OFW helpdesks.


According to Mapa, OWWA’s role will be the provision of trainings for the point person and information and printed materials for the help desk while the LGU’s main responsibility is to assign the personnel who will man the help desk and make and maintain an OFW database.


“The key objective in putting up these help desks is to establish a system that would facilitate efficient and effective delivery of OWWA services to its clientele in the grassroots level,” Mapa said.


DOLE VI Capiz Field Officer, Ms. Melissa Navarro, thanked OWWA RWO VI for facilitating the capability building training as part of the learning session of the Capiz PESO managers during this month’s meeting.


A total of fourteen PESO managers from Capiz attended the said training.


(Top) Rizza Joy H. Mapa, OWWO I, and Jade Love M. Omapas, FWO – Capiz, entertains questions from the PESO Managers (bottom). 

OWWA-13 released P430, 000 worth of livelihood starter kits to OFW returnees

Butuan City (April 24) – In aid to the displaced and distressed migrant workers in Caraga region, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) recently released a total of P430,000.00 worth of livelihood starter kits under the “Balik Pinas Balik Hanapbuhay” Program.


OWWA-RWO Caraga Regional Director Samuel Madrid personally distributed the starter kits to OFW beneficiaries amounting to P10, 000.00 each. A total of forty three (43) OFW returnees from Agusan del Norte (39) and Surigao del Norte (4) benefited from the program.


Aside from receiving starter kits, these OFW returnees were also provided with entrepreneurship development training and other technical assistance which aims to enable them generate a small-scale livelihood enterprise and/or engage into wage employment.


The livelihood grant is part of OWWA’s reintegration services afforded to OFWs who underwent repatriation after premature termination of their contracts. The reasons given by the displaced workers as to why  they were not able to finish their contracts include the following: political conflict, civil war, sickness, non-compliance by employer of agreed salary, maltreatment, sexual assault, death in the worker`s family, non-payment of salaries, closure of the company, and layoffs, among others. 


One of the OFW beneficiaries, Glady May Buque decided to use the assistance to finance meat vending. OFW Gildo Ando, on the other hand, chose to venture on swine production, while, two other program beneficiaries, Randolp Lumain and Joiza Mae Go, preferred to utilize the livelihood grant to start rice trading.


Both Lumain and Go also expressed gratitude to the agency for its support to the OFWs who were unfortunate in their journey overseas.


More so, an additional P130,000.00 is currently being processed for release to 13 OFW beneficiaries from the provinces of Agusan del Norte (3), Surigao del Sur (5) and Agusan del Sur (5).


OWWA Caraga regional director Samuel Madrid led the distribution of livelihood starter kits to OFW returnees in Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte provinces

OWWA training promotes savings mobilization to OFW Family Circle

Members of the United OFWs of Talisay City in Negros Occidental were able to formulate various savings action plans in preparation for their livelihood projects.


This was after the Training on Savings Mobilization conducted by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office VI on March 26, 2015 at the Dela Rama Conference Room, City Hall, Talisay City.


Mrs. Erlinda Villafuerte, the president of said group, first echoed the need for an intervention on savings mobilization and capital formation of the OFC group in Talisay during a project consultation with OWWA and DOLE staff last February 18.


The group is currently engaged in manufacturing various products, namely, Paper Charcoal (Briquettes), Paper Flowers, Candles, and Liquid Detergents.


“The problem is that only a handful of people assist in the production and the other members are not very enthusiastic in capital pooling so we can expand our livelihood projects,” Villafuerte said.


Mr. Elmer Gimay, Labor and Employment Officer III  and community organizer of the Department of Labor and Employment Bacolod City Office, served as the resource speaker for the savings mobilization seminar.


He presented the current economic condition of Negros Occidental, explained the concept and source of savings, and emphasized the importance of savings as part of the backbone of any organization. The highlight of the training was the formulation of the action plans in which OFC members created a savings timeline.


“If you do it religiously, with discipline, you will be able to achieve these plans within one year,” Gimay said.


Regional Director Ron Lionel M. Bartolome also explained that if the group will follow their proposed action plans, they will be able to achieve the target capital for their livelihood project enhancement with or without the help of the government.


“What you have learned today is a simple idea, but it is a very powerful one.  What we are aiming for our OFCs is for them to become self-propelling and self-reliant groups. Dapat tayong sumalig sa sariling lakas at pagkakaisa para makapagtaguyod ng mga proyekto na maglilingkod hindi lamang sa  ating miyembro kundi pati na rin sa ating komunidad,” Bartolome said.


In addition to the savings mobilization module, the OWWA Programs and Services was also discussed by Miss Jeanelyn Oyco, Family Welfare Office, while the Migrant Reality Situationnaire was presented by Miss Shelly Mae J. Soli, Labor Communications Officer.


A total of 40 members of the OFC and representatives of the local council of member-barangays attended the said event.


During the open forum, the OWWA Staff listen to a former OFW who related the circumstances of his accident while working abroad as he inquired if he could avail of the Disability and Dismemberment benefit.


Mr. Elmer Gimay discusses possible sources of savings to members of the United OFWs of Talisay City.


An OFC member presents their proposed savings action plan for group capital build-up.

OWWA RWO VI opens 72 college scholarship slots

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office VI announces the opening of applications for the Overseas Filipino Workers Dependents Scholarship Program or ODSP for the school year 2015-2016.


This scholarship grant is offered to qualified beneficiaries/dependents of active OWWA members who receive monthly salary of not more than US$ 400 and who have enrolled in any four or five-year baccalaureate course leading to a baccalaureate degree or associate degree in any state college or university located in the region/province.


In case of married OFWs, the qualified applicants are the children. On the other hand, siblings of OFWs can only apply if the said worker is single or unmarried.


OWWA Regional Director Ron Lionel M. Bartolome said that 72 scholarship slots will be opened this year.


“OWWA allots 12 slots per province in Western Visayas,” he said. “The office will rank the top 12 applicants based on their high school general weighted average.”


Qualified scholars in this program shall enjoy a maximum of Php20,000.00 annual assistance, which is equivalent to Php10,000.00 per semester.


Documentary requirements for application include the following:

1.    Accomplished application form

2.    Two copies 2×2 pictures (studio shot/white background) of the applicant

3.    Proof of relationship to the OWWA member

         -       NSO Birth certificate of applicant, if he/she is the child of an OFW;

       -      NSO Birth certificate of applicant and OFW, if applicant is the sibling of the unmarried OFW (additional requirement of the Certificate of No-marriage for the single OFW)

4.    Proof of active OWWA membership (OWWA receipt or record)

5.    Form 137/High school report card

6.    Copy of the OFW’s contract

7.    Proof of enrollment in a state college / university


Interested applications can get the application form from the OWWA RWO VI Office located at the 3rd floor, Robinsons Place, Iloilo City. For more inquiries please contact (033) 337-4484 or email


Interested OFW beneficiaries can get application forms at the OWWA RWO VI Office located at the 3rd Floor, Robinsons Place, Iloilo City.

EDSP topnotcher only hoped to pass

After finishing the qualifying test for an OWWA scholarship last September 21, 2014, Ramon Galvan III left the examination room, confident that he will pass.


Little did he know that he will best 4,734 other OFW dependents and rise as the topnotcher in the 2014 OWWA Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) exam.


Galvan said that it was his mother who first saw the announcement in OWWA’s official Facebook page.


“We were constantly checking OWWA’s Facebook page for updates,” Galvan said. “When the exam result came out, my mother told me, ‘Uy, anak, number one ka!”


It was a special moment for the the Hua Siong College alumnus since his seafarer father was with him to celebrate the achievement.


Galvan joined fifteen other Ilonggo students who qualified for the OWWA scholarship. Other passers include:

1.    FAITH MARIE T. BENJAMIN from Iloilo National High School – Special Science Class

2.    GELLAINE MARIE A. BURGOS from Assumption Iloilo

3.    RACHEL M. CASTOR from Passi National High School

4.    PEARLY JANE A. CORTEZ from University of the Philippines High School Iloilo

5.    ALFRED JAMES P. ESPINOSA from Ateneo de Iloilo – Sta. Maria Catholic School

6.    VAL JASON G. GUERRA from Philippine Science High School – Western Visayas

7.    KRYSHNA MERIELLE P. MAQUILING from Iloilo National High School – Special Science Class

8.    COLEEN DANIELLE L. PADER from Iloilo National High School – Special Science Class

9.    LEAN MARIE U. TAMON from Iloilo National High School – Special Science Class

10.  JARLENE CAYE F. ECOGCO from Guimbal National High School

11.  CY GIL M. TABSING from Tubungan National High School

12.  MARIELLE D. TORNILLA from Colegio San Agustin

13.  MATTEW R. LIBO-ON from University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos

14.  KRISTINA FRANCHESCA F. FIEL from Hinigaran National High School

15.  HERACH LEE B. GELVOLEO from Sum-ag National High School


The sixteen EDSP scholars will enjoy a maximum of Php 60,000.00 assistance per school year for any four-to-five year baccalaureate course in any college or university.


RD Bartolome and Ms. Sarah Togonon, EDSP manager, congratulate EDSP Topnotcher Ramon Galvan III and his father, FilSeafarer Ramon Galvan Jr.

National Capital Region

Necessary assistance will be extended to the family of an OFW who died in a clinic in Bahrain airport while on his way home to the Philippines.


OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado immediately addressed the concern of the family of the deceased worker from Jeddah. The 37-year-old Filipino migrant worker was a resident of Santiago City, Isabela. OWWA Region 2 was tasked to coordinate with the family of the deceased worker who was employed as a scaffolder in a refinery company in Al-Jubail, KSA.


An  active OWWA member at the time of death, his family is eligible to avail of  death and burial benefits in the amount of P120,000.00 if the cause of death is natural, and P220,000.00 if the cause of death is due to accident.


Moreover, psycho-social counseling will also be extended to the family of the victim to at least cushion the impact of  the demise of  their loved one. “We send our condolences and sympathies to the grieving  family of the OFW,  and we hope that they will recover in time.  I know how it is to lose a loved one,” Administrator Calzado said.


OWWA, will coordinate with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Jeddah for the  repatriation of the remains of the OFW,” Administrator Calzado added.   Upon arrival at the airport, the  OWWA Repatriation  Team will help the family of the  deceased migrant worker   in getting  clearance/ documents  from Customs and Quarantine officials to facilitate the release of the worker’s remains to the bereaved family. 

OWWA Programs and Services extended at the TESDA Jobs Fair in Pangasinan

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration- Regional Welfare Office 1 (OWWA- RWO1) participated in the Jobs fair organized by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Region 1 as part of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Awareness program of Secretary Joel Villanueva. The Jobs Fair was held at the 3rd Floor Balikbayan Center, Urdaneta City Library and Sports Complex last March 12, 2015. 


OWWA Officers assisting clients during the TESDA Jobs Fair 2015 held at Urdaneta City, Pangasinan last March 12, 2015.


OWWA Officers were present in the said event to extend OWWA Programs and Services to the participants as well as to facilitate pre-employment activities particularly information on overseas employment. The job fair also became an avenue for the “Balik Manggagawa” to process their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) including their OWWA Membership.


This jobs fair is one of the Convergence Programs of DOLE agencies that aims to prepare those who want to be part of the labor force, be it local or overseas, on the circumstances ahead of them. This kind of activity does not just help the would-be employees land a job but is also an avenue for them to be aware of the different programs and services of the government that would help them cope up with their lives as they become part of the workforce.




Revisiting the MOFYA Winners in the Ilocandia

For the past years, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Region 1 has been consistently among those regions who wins an award during the National Awarding of the Model OFW Family of the Year Award (MOFYA) , one of OWWA’s institutional events that aims to recognize the outstanding OFWs and their families who have demonstrated financial stability, steady and enduring family ties, outstanding community service and success in business ventures.


Last March 10, 2015, OWWA Region 1 conducted home visitation to 2014 MOFYA National Winner for the Special Award on Best in Community Projects, Engineer Isidro M. Cabantac of Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur and 2013 MOFYA National Winner for Sea-Based Category Chief Engineer Alberto L. Balbalan of Burgos, Ilocos Sur.


Engineer Isidro M. Cabantac continues to extend his unconditional services to the people in his community particularly in the field of agriculture. Recently, Secretary Proceso Alcala of the Department of Agriculture, visited Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur particularly the agricultural projects being implemented in the municipality. One of the projects visited was the Tramline (Cable Car) project initiated by Engineer Cabantac and funded by DA and  the  Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHILMEC). The 3-million project aims to facilitate the easier transport of agricultural products from the mountainous areas of Sta. Maria including the neighboring towns.  


OWWA Region 1 has also handed the one (1)unit Electrolux Refrigerator to Engineer Cabantac as his additional prize for being a National Winner for the Best in Community Project Award in the 2014 National MOFYA held last January 23, 2015 at the Blue Leaf Filipinas, Parañaque City.


2014 MOFYA National Winner for Best in Community Projects, Engineer Isidro M. Cabantac (2nd from Right) with (L-R) Mrs. Milagros Cabantac, OWWA RWO1 OIC Rhoda R. Lee, OFC Leader Elisa Acena and FWO Virna P. Agbayani.


On the other hand, Chief Engineer Alberto L. Balbalan, 2013 MOFYA National Winner for the Sea-Based category, is continually being recognized in their locality. He was recently given the Father Jose Burgos Special Award by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur (PGIS) for being recognized as a Model OFW Family in a national search. PGIS acknowledged Engineer Balbalan’s exemplary performance as a seafarer and his commendable efforts to rise from poverty, provide the needs of his family, share his blessings to the community, and provide livelihood programs to identified recipients which contributed to the socio-economic development of the community.


The said award was received by his better half, Mayor Riolita R. Balbalan of Burgos, Ilocos Sur, last February 1, 2015 during the “Pammadayaw ken Panagbigbig Kadaguiti Annak ti Ilocos Sur” as part of the 8th “Kannawidan Ylocos Festival” held at Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. Chief Engineer Balbalan was currently on board during the awarding rites.


Mayor Riolita R. Balbalan holding the Father Jose Burgos Special Award of her husband Chief Engineer Alberto L. Balbalan, 2013 National MOFYA Winner for Sea-Based Category.


These recognitions were just few of the many reasons why the families of Chief Engineer Alberto L. Balbalan and Engineer Isidro M. Cabantac were hailed as Model OFW Families. They truly exemplify the ideal OFW family who is successful in the various facets of life. They are indeed an inspiration to fellow OFWs.

OWWA Region 1 supports the 2015 National Women’s Month Celebration

As part of its commitment of promoting Gender and Development  (GAD) and protecting the welfare and interests of women, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration- Regional Welfare Office 1 (OWWA-RWO1) took part in the celebration of the 2015 National Women’s Month held last March 13, 2015. This year’s theme for the celebration is “Juana, Desisyon Mo ay Mahalaga sa Kinabukasan ng Bawat Isa, Ikaw na!”


The celebration begun with a fun walk called the Walk for GAD and was followed with a 1-hour Calisthenics at the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University- Mid La Union Campus (DMMMSU- MLUC) Gymnasium. Everyone also grooved to the Juana, Ikaw na ang Manguna Official Dance Song which was led by the staff of the Ilocos Region Training and Medical Center (ITRMC). Each participating government agency also presented a one-liner cheer anchored on the Women’s Month theme. 


OWWA Officers during the Walk for GAD last March 13, 2015


One of the highlights of the celebration was a discussion on the Status of Women and Men in Region 1 along the areas of Sex and Population, Education, and Employment,  presented by Ms. Irene Ubongen of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). 


Board Member Victoria L. Aragon, the Head of the Committee on Social Services, Women and Family Welfare and Development and Responsible Parenthood and Poverty Alleviation in La Union was the guest speaker for the event where she delivered a motivating message encouraging everyone to support and make a stand on advancing the advocacy on promoting the welfare of women. She also promised the passage of GAD Bill in the province of La Union that will protect women and to encourage the victims of violence to fight for the rights.


Happenings during the 2015 National Women’s Month Celebration (top-left) 1-hour Calisthenics (top-right) Participants grooving to the Juana, Ikaw na ang Manguna Official Dance Song (bottom-left) Presentation of Ms. Irene Ubongen of PSA on the Status of Women and Men in Region 1 (bottom-right) BM Victoria L. Aragon delivering her speech during the celebration.


The event was participated by a total of 44 various government agencies. The said celebration was spearheaded by Region 1 Advocates for Gender Equality (RAGE-1), where OWWA Region 1 is an active member and supporter. RAGE-1 is an organization of the different government agencies in the region who advocate for Gender and Development (GAD). The Induction of the New Set of RAGE-1 Officers also took place in the said event where Atty. Florence Marie Gacad- Ulep, Assistant Regional Director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), was elected as the new President. ARD Ulep reminded everyone that the “advocacy on promoting the welfare and protecting the rights of women should not only be for the month of March, but should be a year-long commitment.”


Oath taking of the newly elected RAGE-1 Officers