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Signing of Memorandum of Agreement on Convergence Program for OFWs in the Province of Bulacan

City of San Fernando, Pampanga – A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the Convergence Program for OFWS in Bulacan was forged by the Provincial Government with the DOLE agencies on July 2, 2015 at the Hiyas Pavilion, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center. The MOA was signed by Bulacan Gov. Willy Sy-Alvarado, Vice Gov. Daniel R. Fernando, OWWA Administrator Rebecca Calzado, POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, DOLE RO3 Director Ana C. Dione and TESDA Regional Director Teodoro Gatchalian. Municipal mayors and officials, Public Employment Officers and Association of Barangay Council Presidents stood as witnesses to the event.


Based on latest data of OWWA’s Membership Processing Center, Bulacan has 84,132 active OWWA members OFW population, comprising 28.09 % of the Central Luzon’s OFW active member population, making it the leading province in terms of number of documented OFWs in the region.


Binibigyang buhay ng MOA na ito ang pagsasama-sama ng iba’t-ibang ahensya ng Kagawaranng Paggawa tungo sa patuloy na pagpapalakasat pagpapalawak ng program at serbisyo sa ating mga manggagawa sa makasaysayang lalawigan ng Bulacan,” Administrator Calzado said. “True to our commitment to the province, we have made ourselves a permanent fixture on the Provincial PESO Federation meetings and activities and actively support their undertakings. Regular consultation between the LGU and the OWWA is done to ensure the swift delivery of services as well as speedy action on welfare services,” she added.

POEA Administrator Cacdac commended Bulacan for being the top partner of the agency on the nationwide anti-illegal recruitment campaign. “This convergence program on illegal recruitment brings together the services of different government agencies, non-government organizations and LGUs to effectively stop the problem,” said Administrator Cacdac.


Coinciding with the activity is the oathtaking of the Officers of the Bulacan OFW Family Circles Federation administered by Gov. Willy Sy-Alavarado and witnessed by OWWA Administrator Rebecca Calzado and RWO3 Dir. Malou V. Reyes

The officers of the Bulacan OFW Family Circle Federation had their oathtaking ceremony administered by Gov. Willy Sy-Alvarado and witnessed by OWWA Administrator Rebecca Calzado

The provincial government of Bulacan through its Gov. Willy Sy-Alvarado and  Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, awarded the guests with a Certificate of Appreciation for their support and for being active partners on the Convergence Program for OFWs.

The principal signatories of the Memorandum of Agreement, seated from left: Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, Provincial PESO Manager Elizabeth Alonzo, OWWA Administrator Rebecca Calzado, Gov. Willy Sy-Alvarado, POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, TESDA Regional Director Teodoro Gatchalian and DOLE Regional Director Ana Dione as Provincial Board Member Felix “Toti” Ople (middle standing)and the Municipal 

OWWA Participates in Filipino Seafarer’s Day

CAGAYAN DE ORO --- In recognition of seafarers’ all over the Philippines particularly in the Region 10 and their huge contribution to the economy, Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) Regional Office 10 participated in the celebration of Filipino Seafarers’ Day last 25 June 2015 with the theme, “Marinong Pilipino, Isulong ang Edukasyon at Pagsasanay”, spearheaded by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) along with the other government agencies, private sectors and the academe.

An early ship dressing, simultaneous blowing of horns and floral offering at the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Pier, Cagayan de Oro City kicked off despite the rainy weather. A search and rescue drill was also initiated by the Philippine Coast Guards (PCG) in cooperation with the captains and cadets from the Capitol University and Southern Philippines College to give the people a glimpse of the seafarers’ lives aboard. After the celebration of the Holy Mass presided by Msgr. Eutiquiano ‘Tex’ Legitimas, SSJV,  a motorcade from Cagayan de Oro Port passing through the streets of Julio Pacana and Velez, Rodelsa Circle, 5th Bridge to Masterson Avenue and ended at SM City Car park followed. 

Gracing the program proper was the opening remarks of PPA Port Manager, Engr. Isidro V. Butaslac, Jr., followed by the guest speaker’s message, Atty. Casimiro B. Juarez, Jr. – President of Capitol University. Also joining the maritime forum was Regional Director of MARINA, Emmanuel B. Carpio, representatives from  the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police – Maritime Group (PNP-MG), Department of Health (DOH), National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Moreover, aside from Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP), OWWA promoted other available scholarship offerings as of JUNE 2015 for seafarer’s dependents and beneficiaries such as the Educational Development Scholarship Program (EDSP), Skills & Employment Scholarship Program (SESP), IT Tulay Program and the 2B Reintegration Program. 

Cordillera Administrative Region
20th Migrants Day Celebration - Fiesta ng Migrante sa Cordillera

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration- Cordillera Region under the leadership of Officer-in-Charge Evelyn C. Laranang celebrated the 20th Migrants Day at St. Vincent Parish Multi-purpose Gym here in Baguio City this June 7, 2015. More or less four hundred and fifty (450) Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and members of the Baguio-Benguet Federation of OFW Returnees and Dependents (BBFORD), and representatives from Department of Labor and Employment and its line agencies graced the occasion. The OWWA Regional Office-CAR and in partnership with the Local Government Units of Ifugao, Province will celebrate a separate Migrant’s Day   on June 25 -26, 2015 with an expected participants of two hundred coming from different municipalities of Ifugao. The celebration will be held at Municipal Gym of Poblacion, Kiangan Ifugao.


The event commemorates the promulgation of Republic Act No. 8042 otherwise known as the Migrant Workers Act of 1995, as amended by RA 10002. The said law instituted policies on overseas employment and established a higher standard of protection and promotion of the welfare of migrant workers, their families and Overseas Filipinos in distress.


This year’s theme, Kasanayan at Husay sa Paggawa, Proteksyon ng Migranteng Manggagawa, is in line with DOLE’s policy focus for OFWs.  This gives substance to synergy among DOLE and its attached agencies for optimum delivery of responsive services and programs for the protection of OFW concerns and rights and in battling illegal recruitment and/or human trafficking.


The festivities started with a Doxology and singing of the Philippine National Anthem the Young Minstrels Choir of Baguio City National High School followed by the welcome address of OIC-Regional Director Laranang.  She stressed the success of the activity with the cooperation of partner agencies and Non Government Organizations, the OFW Family Circles, Vocational Technical Schools and the Local Government Units.


A local Baguio boy, Director IV Albert Q. Valenciano represented OWWA Administrator Rebecca Calzado and shared current concerns of deployed OFWs before reading the message of the OWWA administrator. DOLE CAR Assistant Regional Director Atty. Erwin Aquino  read the message of the Honorable DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz.


A formal opening of OFC livelihood booths, service clinics and desks followed.  The service clinics offered free medical services (including blood pressure monitoring, medical diagnosis) and free medicines for common illnesses, display of safety services, blood typing and blood letting  by the Philippine National Red Cross chapter, Department of Health and medical personnel of Baguio General Hospital.  BBFORD member OFCs displayed their products such as veggie snacks, fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, fruit jams and honey which were also offered for sale for their income generating projects. TESDA skills trainees were mobilized to service participants for massage therapy sessions. BDO also offered give-aways such as pouch, bags and caps for those interested to  open an account with them.


Highlighting the event’s theme were recognition of OFW beneficiaries under the OWWA skills and livelihood trainings, and scholarship programs. Twenty one (21) distressed OFW beneficiaries for Beauty Care and Sewing Skills under the  Balik-Pinas! Balik-Hanap Buhay Program were awarded Starter kits. Fifty eight  (58)  graduates under the Information Technology Program received their certificates of completion while twenty four (24) new college scholars under the EDSP and CMWSP Scholarship Program for SY 2015-2016 received their Notices of Awards. In addition, skills demonstration on Dimsum Preparation and Cake Decorations were undertaken to showcase the skills acquired by the OFW beneficiaries and stimulate interest among the audience.


Cordillera cultural dances were performed by Baguio- Benguet  college  students from the Mangali Tribe of Kalinga and series of Bontoc dances by Voc-Tech students of one learning institute . A local partner barangay dance group headed the line dancing for everyone to participate in. Raffle draws and children’s games were enjoyed by everyone while a number of balik- manggagawa OFWs were entertained to their delight. Among the prizes raffled to the winning stubs were full or discounted scholarship to OFW dependents by Informatics Computer Institute of Baguio.


Governor Nestor Fongwan of the Province of Benguet and the Executive Secretary of Mayor Domogan, Raffy Talocoy shared their messages and similarly touched on migrant families and the realities of overseas employment. They saluted the sacrifices and contribution  of OFWs to Philippine Economy were given meaning.


The significant and meaningful celebration culminated with OIC PSD Isaac Anthony Basil’s message of inspiration and challenge for the coming year ahead and wishing everyone the best that would be earned for OFWs and their families.


In La Union, OFW Org Saves Up for Rainy Days

Hard work and prudence are values akin to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). And with all the sacrifices in their toils abroad, they sure know the essence of saving up and preparing for the future.


These values are just what the Bannuar ti La Union- Immayos Chapter is upholding as an organization. Driven with cooperation and unity, the group of OFWs and their families in Sitio Immayos, Brgy. San Jose, Sudipen, La Union is aimed at ensuring the future while being relevant to the community.


And thanks to the OFW Groceria Project granted to them by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) a decade ago, the Bannuar-Immayos members are now seeing the fulfillment of their visions as an organization.


In 2005, the Bannuar-Immayos received P50,000 worth of goods as startup for their OFW Groceria Project. This program launched by the OWWA in 2004 served to improve the socio-economic situation of the OFWs and their families through livelihood and self-employment opportunities. At zero-percent interest rate, the loan program helped OFW organizations in the country put up livelihood in the form of grocery stores.


The Bannuar-Immayos has completed its payment for the loan in 2008. Today, the project remains to be a robust source of income to the organization members, which have grown from 45 during its foundation in 2004 to 75 this year.


The grocery store registered an amount of P258, 497 as total assets in 2014. It’s total sales amount for the same year was P620,275.


The organization’s President, Mr. Alfonso Calderon, sees these figures as proof to the success of the groceria in Immayos. “This project is not only beneficial to the organization, but to our community as a whole,” says Mr. Calderon, who is an ex-OFW as carpenter in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. He cites that with the grocery store nearby, Immayos residents didn’t have to travel far to the town’s public market to buy their goods.


Through the years, the Bannuar-Immayos has grown more dynamic as it ventured into other business opportunities. It also now adopts a lending system that lets members borrow an amount up to P10,000 with a two-percent interest rate per month. “We have no delinquent borrowers,” Mr. Calderon proudly shares.


The Immayos Groceria has also now expanded on its merchandise, which now includes livestock feeds, rice retails, and over-the-counter medicines. The store’s goods are replenished twice a week, as deliveries come in every Mondays and Thursdays.


Just as any other business ventures, the Immayos Groceria has encountered challenges as well. These include a robbing incident a few years back, and the thriving of business competitions in their village.


Despite the challenges, the organization strives to be of service to the community. As such, it has supported and co-sponsored the construction of a chapel, public comfort room, and jetmatic pumps, which now benefits the rest of Sitio Immayos.


The Bannuar-Immayos hopes to create greater impacts to the community in the coming years, and Mr. Calderon and his colleagues envision their organization to grow more relevant, productive and responsive to the concerns of its OFW members and their families.


OWWA Regional Welfare Office I, meanwhile, reiterates its support to the noble goals of the Bannuar-Immayos. “OWWA will always give a helping hand,” OWWA RWOI OIC Rhoda Nilda Placida R. Lee tells the organization members in a visit on June 23, 2015. “With your unity and dedication,” OIC Lee imparts, “the future of the Bannuar-Immayos is certainly bright.” 

OWWA RWOI OIC Rhoda Nilda Placida R. Lee (rightmost) examine the merchandise sold at the OFW Groceria Project by the Bannuar ti La Union-Immayos Chapter, an OFW Organization in Sitio Immayos, Brgy. San Jose, Sudipen, La Union. Also in the photo are (left to right) Ms. Vera Andrei O. Ladio, La Union Family Welfare Officer; Ms. Edna B. Valdez, President of Coalition of OFWs Associations in La Union; and, Mr. Alfonso M. Calderon, President of the Bannuar-Immayos.

OWWA RWOI OIC Rhoda Nilda Placida R. Lee (middle) consults with Mr. Alfonso M. Calderon, President of the Bannuar ti La Union-Immayos Chapter, about the project OFW Groceria Project in Sitio Immayos, San Jose, Sudipen, La Union.

A boys buys goods from the OFW Groceria of the Bannuar-Immayos Chapter, an OFW Organization in Sitio Immayos, San Jose, Sudipen, La Union. The grocery store is part of the OWWA program launched in 2004 to improve the socio-economic situation of the OFWs and their families through livelihood and self-employment opportunities.

OWWA RWOI officers led by OIC Rhoda Nilda Placida R. Lee (4th from left) and the members of the Bannuar ti La Union-Immayos Chapter, led by Mr. Alfonso M. Calderon (7th from left) pose for posterity in front of the OFW Groceria Project in Sitio Immayos, Brgy. San Jose, Sudipen, La Union.

Mr. Alfonso M. Calderon, President of the Bannuar ti La Union-Immayos Chapter, (rightmost) talks about the OFW Groceria Project  to OWWA RWOI OIC Rhoda Nilda Placida R. Lee (2nd from right) and others during a meeting on June 23, 2015.

OWWA orients 76 new scholars in Caraga

BUTUAN CITY, July 1 – With objective to provide sufficient awareness in granting of scholarship for OFW dependents, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA-13) recently conducted a series of scholarship orientations in various provinces of Caraga.


This school year’s, seventy six grantees under the Overseas Filipino Workers Dependent Scholarship Program (OFWDSP) jointly attended the said orientation with their parents and guardians.


Scholarship Coordinator Rodel Deligero of OWWA Caraga, cited the rationale of the activity and conducted program advocacy to broaden the understanding of the participants of the agency’s programs and services.


Deligero also facilitated the signing of scholarship agreement. He likewise exhaustively discussed the provisions of said agreement including the scholarship program regulations and implementing guidelines to enlighten the scholars and their guardians of their roles and responsibilities in order to continue with the scholarship.


Moreover, Officer-in-Charge of the Programs and Services Division Ma. Ireen Cambaling encouraged the scholars to do well in their academics not only to sustain the educational grant but also to pay tribute to their OFW parents.


“Pagbutihin ninyo ang inyong pag-aaral at gawin ninyo itong regalo sa inyong parents or guardians for their sacrifices,” Cambaling said.


Cambaling also hopes that all the OFWDSP availees will graduate as OWWA scholars.


OFWDSP is an educational grant that offers financial assistance not to exceed PhP20, 000.00 per one-school term to qualified dependents of lowly paid migrant workers. Availee of the scholarship grant may enroll in any 4-year to 5-year baccalaureate course or associate course leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree in a state college or university. 

OFWDSP scholars in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur 

OFWDSP scholars in Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Island Provinces with their parents/guardians take a pose together with OWWA staff after the scholarship orientation and signing of scholarship agreement in Surigao City. 

Signing of scholarship agreement

OIC, PSD Ma. Ireen Cambaling delivers a message during the OFWDSP orientation held in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur

OWWA RWO IV-A Aides 10K Frap to 455 Libya & Yemen Repatriates

RWO IV-A aides 316 OFW repatriates from Libya and 139 from Yemen with financial assistance of PhP 10,000.00 each under OWWA’s Financial Relief Assistance Program (FRAP) for OFWs who were displaced from work as a result of political conflict in Libya and Yemen from the period of January 5 to June 30, 2015.


This one-time FRAP aimed at giving immediate financial assistance as OFWs are experiencing drastic economic and social adjustment brought about by the unanticipated work disruption and displacement. Said financial relief assistance is part of the agency’s crisis intervention to the displaced OFWs.


In addition to the monetary assistance, OFWs were also extended other post repatriation services such as airport assistance, temporary shelter and transport services which are in line with the components of the Assist WELL Program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The same is intended to give Welfare, Employment, Livelihood and Legal assistance to repatriated OFWs coming from countries afflicted by war and other crises. 

FWOs Mae Jacila and Kenneth Manalili give full accommodation to Libya and Yemen repatriates availing the 10K FRAP

RD Bellido promotes OWWA programs and services in Davao Oriental through radio guesting

Davao Oriental – OWWA-RWO XI Regional Director Eduardo E. Bellido guested at 91.5 Sunrise Gold FM in Mati City, Davao Oriental last June 29, 2015 to promote the programs and services of OWWA. The program was anchored by Mati City Councilor Alfonso “Bong” Alcantara.


In his program “Isumbong Kang Papa Bong”,  Councilor Alcantara announced that OWWA already has presence in Davao Oriental particularly in Mati City. In his interview, Dir. Bellido further discussed that OWWA conducts financial literacy and management to the OFWs and their families to guide them in the proper management of their finances. Likewise, he discussed the reintegration program, social benefits, scholarship, repatriation, livelihood, and welfare assistance program. When asked about the interventions of OWWA to maintain solidarity and constant communication between the OFWs and their families, Dir. Bellido said that OWWA regularly conducts search for the  Model OFW Family of the Year to give recognition to deserving OFW and their families to serve as an inspiration to the other OFWs.  


As a public servant, Councilor Alcantara catered to complaints of OFW families in his program and referred it to OWWA and DOLE for appropriate action.


In the same event, Dir. Bellido was able to assist an OFW dependent who seeks assistance for his wife having unstable behavior after being repatriated from Saudi Arabia. The husband was advised by Dir. Bellido to coordinate with Family Welfare Officer Albert G. Salazar for the immediate referral to the Psychiatric unit of SPMC in Davao City for proper treatment.


Councilor Bong was elated by the presence of Dir. Bellido in his program.  He said that he will be happy to serve OFWs and their families who will come to his program for assistance. Dir. Bellido on the other hand, welcomed referrals of Councilor Bong and assured immediate and appropriate assistance for them. 

Interview with Regional Director Eduardo E. Bellido during the radio program  of Councilor Bong Alcantara.  Dir. Bellido discussed updates on the programs and services of OWWA and other OFW concerns.

Dir. Bellido provided immediate assistance to  OFW dependent  during the radio interview.

OWWA Attends OFC’s 5th Year Anniv

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY --- Inspired by the theme, “By our works we show our faith”, Lugait Parish Migrants Ministry, one of the active Overseas Filipino Workers’ Family Circles (OFCs) in Misamis Oriental, celebrated their 5th Year Annual Assembly last 20 June 2015 at St. Joseph Function Hall, Lugait Misamis Oriental.


In accordance to OWWA’s mission and vision of promoting the well-being of OFWs and their families’ through strengthening and expanding the package of services, OWWO II Mr. Richie James Uy updated the organization with OWWA’s programs and services and grateful for their continuous support and partnership. 


The program started off with a Eucharistic Celebration led by Rev. Fr. Glenn P. Pimentel followed by his welcome message. Subsequently, a treasurer and secretary’s report was conducted before the election of the new set of officers started.  The event ended with an open forum for any development plan for the next projects of the organization to make. 


OWWA gives livelihood skills training to Bayugan City OFC

BUTUAN CITY, June 29 – In its endeavor to capacitate its member OFWs with essential skills for livelihood augmentation, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Regional Welfare Office Caraga in partnership with the Philippine Coconut Authority recently afforded the members of Bayugan City United OFWs and Family Association (BCUOFA) a two day skills training on Virgin Coconut Oil and Coco Products Processing held in Bayugan City.


Coconut Production and Regulation Officer III Ernalyn Colon and Coconut Development Officer Ronald S. Musico of PCA Caraga, facilitated the training to some twenty five (25) participants.


Among the finished products presented during the culmination activity include: Virgin Coconut Oil, Bucarillo, Bukayo, Macaroons, Buko pie and vinegar sauce, which is still on the process phase.


Henry Villamor, President of Bayugan City OFC expressed his gratitude to OWWA for providing them their first organizational development training.


“Thank you OWWA for all your efforts, we are very proud that you really came here for us,” Villamor said in local dialect.


Villamor also conveyed his gratefulness to the resource speakers for sharing their learning to them. “The training imparted to us that there are many simple means to make use of the coconut in order to increase our daily household income,” he added.


In his message, regional director Samuel Madrid of OWWA Caraga congratulated all the participants for satisfactorily completing the two day training. He also appreciated the support extended by the City Government of Bayugan City through its Public Service Employment Office headed by Vice Mayor Charles Anggayong, as well as the efforts of the resource speakers for the realization of the said activity.


Madrid disclosed that in the Province of Agusan del Sur, it was first time for OWWA together with PCA to conduct the said techno transfer in Bayugan City. Further, Madrid bared that this endeavor of the government primarily aims to alleviate poverty.


Sana ito ay hindi katapusan ng inyong mga enhancement trainings or skills trainings, kundi sana ito ay maging panimula ng inyong continuing educational process,” Madrid told the members of Bayugan City United OFWs and Family Association. 


Participants make their own version of coco food products

Participants present their finished coco products during the culmination activity of the training

National Capital Region

2 Billion OFW Reintegration Program Story:  Succeeding with Clothing

(Left to right) OFW Reintegration Fund Beneficiary Ms. Nancy R. Santos together with  Raymund Leonor of RWO-NCR holding up a finished product of her  factory, Ms. Nancy checking the work of one of her workers, Ms. Nancy R. Santos   showing another product made by her workers (inset)

            OFW Benjamin R. Santos Jr. 38, has been an OFW for 10 years in United Kingdom. Due to his children’s schooling, Benjamin and his wife Nancy decided to expand their        business to help them earn more for their     family needs.

            The couple first heard about the OFW          Reintegration Fund Program (ORP) through       Benjamin’s co-workers who tried to avail of the loan. After applying in October 2012, and     submitting all the requirements, the couple    received their loan which amounts to             Php 300,000.00 from the Land Bank of the          Philippines.

            “Applying for the loan was actually very      simple. Once you have completed the requirements you will be able to receive the cash you  loaned for.” Nancy remarked.

            Aside from making school uniforms, the     Santos's are also sub-contractors for            well-known local brands like Hammerhead, Paddocks and BNY Jeans.

            “The garments industry is very            demanding especially with so many clothes that costs much cheaper,                 but since my husband who works as a  tailor in United Kingdom is passionate about tailoring, we have managed to make sure that every product coming from us is of good    quality.”

            Barlex Garments started with two     sewing machines and Php 20,000.00 as initial capital. After seven years in the business they now have a total of 18 workers and earns at least Php 20,000-30,000 a month.

             “Napakalaki ng naitulong ng OWWA sa amin, dahil sa loan nakapag-expand kami ng business, dumami ang aming kliyente, lumaki ang kita ng negosyo at higit sa lahat nakapagtapos na kami ng dalawang anak namin ng Kolehiyo.” Mrs. Nancy Santos happily remarked.

            The 2 Billion Reintegration Fund for business enterprise development is a loan facility in partnership with Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, where a member or their legal dependent can avail of a loan           between Php 300,000.00 to Php 2 million.