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Airport Salubong on the arrival of OWWA Administrator Honorable Rebecca J. Calzado and Dir. Connie C. Marquez as guests to the Migrant Workers Day Celebration 07 June 2015 at Kadayawan Hall, NCCC Mall. Davao City.

OWWA Region I Celebrates Migrant Workers’ Day 2015

In recognition of the efforts of OFWs, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) celebrated the 20th Migrant Workers’ Day on June 7, 2015 with the theme, “Kasanayan at Husay sa Paggawa, Proteksyon ng Migranteng Mangagawa.”


In the OWWA Regional Welfare Office I, the celebration was also a venue to honor the agency’s viable partners in its goal to promote and protect the welfare of migrant workers and their families. Thus, Exemplar Migrant Desk Officers (MDOs) in Region I were recognized in an Awarding Ceremony held on June 2, 2015, at Max’s Restaurant, City of San Fernando, La Union.


There were 55 awardees who represented different Provincial, City and Municipal Local Government Units in the region. Pangasinan fielded 26 awardees, 13 for La Union, and eight each for Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.


The Awarding Ceremony aims to recognize the significant role of the MDOs who act as support group to OFWs and their families by providing them immediate and appropriate assistance. Moreover, the event sought to forge strengthened partnership among LGUs which have become receptive in pursuing and bringing the OWWA Programs and Services closer to OFWs and their families.


Two of the awards were presented posthumously to the families of the late Imee Ubando, former MDO of San Fabian, Pangasinan; and the late Susano Flandez, former MDO of Ilocos Sur. Also an awardee was a social partner of OWWA RWOI in the person of Sr. Lolita J. Guibac of the Diocesan Ministry for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and their Families of La Union.


Serving as Guest Speaker during the event was La Union Board Member Ruperto A. Rillera, who conveyed that the determination and perseverance of the OFWs should serve as inspiration to all. The OWWA RWOI officers headed by OIC Rhoda Nilda Placida R. Lee congratulated the awardees and expressed her gratitude for their passionate service as MDOs. In response, La Union Provincial MDO Charito Dator, speaking in behalf of all the awardees, expressed their unwavering commitment to help uphold the welfare of migrant workers and their families in the region.


Meanwhile, the OWWA RWOI will celebrate the 2015 Migrant Workers’ Day until the rest of the month through distribution of 750 MWD commemorative bags to its clientele on various schedules of visits to its satellite offices in Dagupan City, Urdaneta City, Alaminos City, and Rosales in Pangasinan; Vigan City and Candon City in Ilocos Sur; and Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. OWWA officers will also discuss on Migration Realities and Updates on OWWA Programs and Services during meetings with social partners and community-organizing activities scheduled this month. 


The Exemplar Migrant Desk Officers in Region I were recognized for their passionate service and invaluable contribution in upholding the welfare of migrant workers and their families, during the Awarding Ceremony by the OWWA RWOI on June 2, 2015 at Max’s Restaurant, City of San Fernando, La Union in celebration of the 20th Migrant Workers’ Day.


OWWA RWOI personnel gladly hand over canvas bags to clients as giveaways during the celebration of the 2015 Migrant Workers Day. The OWWA RWOI will distribute 750 loot bags, containing OWWA souvenir keychains, umbrellas, bag tags, and OWWA leaflets, in its satellite offices for the month of June 2015. 


Zamboanga City, Philippines – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-IX has extended financial assistance to ninety (90) OFW repatriates from Libya in Region-IX as part of the Financial Relief Assistance Program of OWWA at 10,000.00 each OFW.


A total of P900, 000 in cash was released from August 2014 to present for Region-IX Overseas Filipino Workers repatriated from Libya who were displaced because of the political conflict in the said community.


Hassan Gabra T. Jumdain, Regional Director, advised Region-IX OFWs from Libya who have not yet availed of the program to visit the office and to know more about OWWA programs and services particularly the livelihood program.


Director Jumdain added that Yemen repatriates are given six (6) months only to file their financial assistance from the date of their arrival in the Philippines.


OWWA, true to its mandate, will continue to extend assistance to the need of its OFW clients either in distress or through its regular program.


For the First Quarter, OWWA-IX conducted three (3) Entrepreneurial and Organizational Development Training.


The first Training was conducted in Sindangan, Zamboanga Del Norte last March 25-27, 2015 with a total of eighty (80) OFWs, mostly seafarers, and dependents. It was followed in Isabela City last April 22-24 at Twins Pavilion with a total of 68 participants. And just recently on April 28-30 in Barangay Recodo, Conference Hall with a total of eighty-one (81) participants – Landbased OFWs.


These trainings were in coordination with different institutional partners such as the Department of Trade and Industry-IX (DTI); Technical Education, Skills and Development Authority-IX (TESDA); Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources –IX (BFAR); Department of Science and Technology-IX (DOST) and Landbank of the Philippines-Lending Center-IX (LBP-Zamboanga Lending Center) is a pre-requisite in the availment of the OFW Reintegration program for livelihood assistance.


The different government agencies and OWWA provided information on the technical side of entrepreneurship such as requirements in availing business loan particularly the 2B OFW Reintegration Program, business plan preparation, financial literacy and technological skills needed in business industry.


Upcoming EDT and ODT Seminars will also be conducted in Pagadian City and Dipolog City and Zamboanga Sibugay Province, in Ipil with expected participants of 55, 70 and 60 participants, respectively.


Interested OFW applicants who wish to apply may visit the office at OWWA-IX, 3rd Flr., Goodwill Center, Mayor Jaldon St., Canelar, Zamboanga City and look for the assigned Family Welfare Officers in your respective place: Zamboanga Sibugay province- Mr. Khalil Isser Lorena; Pagadian City- Ms. Nur-Iyam Tang; Dipolog City- Ms. Lelann Carballo; Isabela City- Ms. Badria Abdulla; and, Zamboanga City-Ms. Aisa Lim. For more details and informations email us at owwa.rwo9 or call us thru these nos.: (062) 991-2785/ 09162142294/09477386870.

DOLE, OWWA brings together GOs, NGOs for Gigantes Islands development

Development should be integrated and holistic.


This was the message of Regional Director Ponciano M. Ligutom as the Department of Labor and Employment and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, in Region VI convened other National Government Agencies (NGAs), Non-government Organizations (NGOs), the provincial and local government units in a Convergence Forum championing the development of the Gigantes group of islands with the Higantes Islands Development Enhancement Services (HIDES) project.


The Convergence Forum was the culmination of the two-day Strategic Planning Seminar conducted by the DOLE and OWWA to the local barangay councils of the four barangays in Gigantes Islands, namely, Brgy. Granada, Brgy. Asluman, Brgy. Gabi, and Brgy. Granada.


The HIDES is a special convergence project of the Department of Labor and Employment which aims to promote the tourism potentials of these communities, and create a better employment and livelihood opportunities.


Participants listen to Mr. Steve Arroyo during the recap of the previous days’ activities.


(L-R) Mrs. Salcon Alerta, Hon. Abelardo Montibon, Hon. Rexy Magallanes, DOLE RD Ponciano Ligutom, Mr. Bernie Gelardino of DOLE, OWWA RD Ron Lionel Bartolome and Miss Shelly Mae Solis of OWWA during the meeting of Brgy. Captains in Gigantes Islands last March 07, 2015.


Beginning with the OWWA training


On March 05-06, 2015, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office VI conducted a Training on Shellcraft Making to 53 members of the Bancal OFW Family Association in Carles. The regional office and the O.F.C. initiated the training because Carles is abundant with seafood and boasts tourism as a strong point.


In addition, the proposed shell-craft industry would help resolve the scallop shell disposal problem in Gigantes Island as reported by the OFC and the municipality of Carles during the training needs assessment.


OWWA RWO VI arranged a meeting with the four barangay captains in Gigantes Islands on March 07 to directly verify the shell aggregate problem in the area, to secure the supply of shells for the OFC in Bancal shell-craft project, and to obtain a list of OFWs and OFW families in the area.


Upon hearing of the plan from OWWA RWO VI Regional Director Ron Lionel M. Bartolome, RD Ligutom then asked if he could go along with the meeting. His presence then became instrumental for the creation of the DOLE Higantes Islands Development Enhancement Services project.


Conducting the Rapid Rural Appraisal


As part of the data gathering effort for the HIDES project, the Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Region VI conducted a Rapid Rural Appraisal at Gigantes Group of Islands.


A two-man team composed of Noemi S. Dela Peña from DOLE and Shelly Mae J. Solis from OWWA were assigned for the task.


The conduct of the RRA covered assessment of the biophysical and socioeconomic conditions of the four Barangays; identification of coastal development issues and constraints and opportunities confronting the  people; and determining priority issues and concerns of the four Barangay for community-based and tourism projects.


The data gathered during the RRA then became the basis in formulating the strategic development planning activity.


The scallop aggregates in the shoreline of Brgy. Asluman and a fisherfolk family member presenting her family’s problems of disappearing fishing implements at sea are just a few of the realities verified during the Rapid Rural Appraisal activity.


Cooperation during the Convergence Activity


According to Dir. Ligutom, the concerted effort of the stakeholders, barangay officials, and the people of Gigantes is key for the progress of the community as a whole, thus the strategic planning and convergence forum activities were slated.


“Ang sabi ko, pag-usapan natin kung paano gagawin ito. Kung paano ang arrangement na hindi kanya-kanya ang NGO at gobyerno, kasi malilito ang mga tao, “ Dir. Ligutom said.


Still according to the DOLE director, the second phase of the strategic planning program is the making of the one-year action plan which was re-scheduled on another date with the stakeholders from the various NGOs, NGAs, and academe as the technical committee sometime in May of this year.


The event was opened by a buddle fight lunch shared by NGOs, NGAs, local and provincial LGUs, and the four barangay councils and was wrapped up by the ceremonial pledging of commitment by the participants in the Convergence Forum.


Participants of the HIDES Convergence Forum share a lunch comprised of local produce in Gigantes like scallops, wasay-wasay, and bukol-bukol shells, crabs, squid, and a variety of fish.


‘Show of force’


Carles Mayor Sigfredo Betita described the event as a show of force.


“We are glad that you came out of your own way. You walked the extra mile and probably you burned the midnight oil to help people of Gigantes. We are very lucky because you put up with this initiative and orchestrated this program in order to boost the livelihood and economy of Gigantes Island as well as tourism industry. And I believe that after this forum we can come up with one common goal in order to help people of Gigantes and generally, Carles,” Mayor Betita said.


Hon. Sigfredo Betita addresses his constituents and the stakeholders in the convergence forum.

(L-R) OWWA RD Ron Lionel M. Bartolome, DOLE RD Ponciano M. Ligutom, Carles Municipal Mayor Sigfredo A. Betita, and DOLE Northern Iloilo Field Officer Steve Arroyo take a pose after a successful pledging activity.


The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Region 7 participated in the recently conducted Regional PESO Managers (REPESOM) Congress on April 22 – 24, 2015 at Bahura Beach Resort and Spa in Dauin, Negros Oriental. 


The 3-day event was attended by eighty-four (84) Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Managers from Region 7. Thirty two (32) of which are from the Province of Cebu, 31 from Bohol, 16 from Negros Oriental and 5 from Siquijor. 


Parallel to the activity’s goal of gearing the PESO Managers with necessary knowledge that would enable them to effectively extend services to its clientele, OWWA 7’s Overseas Workers Welfare Officer II, Jeffrey B. Signo updated the participants on the different programs and services of OWWA. A brief open forum followed after the sharing of updates and OWWA info materials were likewise distributed to the participants.  


OWWA 7’s consistent participation in the annual REPESOM 7 Congress is in line with the agency’s capacity building program for partners like the LGUs.


Participants of the Annual REPESOM Congress listened attentively as OWWA 7’s Overseas Workers Welfare Officer II, Jeffrey B. Signo answered each of their queries during the open forum.

Cordillera Administrative Region
15 Displaced OFW’s received Starter kits under Balik-Pinas Balik Hanap Buhay Program

In line with the Reintegration Program of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration under Balik Pinas BalikHanap-Buhay Program the OWWA-Cordillera Administrative Region conducted a five (5)- day training Cellphone Repair which was attended by fifteen (15) distressed OFW’s repatriated from Libya, KSA, and UAE.  The said training was held at the OWWA-CAR training room in Private Rd., Baguio City. 


The participants were provided basic skills in basic handling of tools, its proper usage, parts of the cellphones and accessories, common trouble shooting problems, soldering/ de-soldering of wiring and microchips, and applied troubleshooting and repair.


In addition to the 5-day training the participants were provided with starter kits which include basic tools and equipments worth Php5, 270, i.e. rework station, power supply, analog, multi-tester, soldering iron & paste, etc.


The said training improved the OFW participants employability, productivity, and competitiveness.  Further, the training helped the participants in developing their entrepreneurial skills to start a small business. 


Certificates of participation were awarded by the OWWA-CAR Officer In Charge Ms. Leonila DG. Robillos (Center Green), left Mr. Alfredo Alangdeo Jr. (trainor), Ms. Margie F. Ungson (Focal person under BalikPinasProgram.


Group pictures for the new Cellphone Technicians who have satisfactorily completed the training and received  starter kits .

Release of artificial reefs marks OWWA RWO VI’s celebration of Environment Day

BARBAZA, ANTIQUE – As part of its commitment to support environmental protection and in celebration of the Earth Day, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office VI and the Local Government of Barbaza in Antique released thirty jackstone type artificial reefs at sea.


The fabrication of reinforced concrete jackstone type coral reefs was the Cash for Work Project of OWWA RWO VI and the LGU of Barbaza which was initiated to protect the reefs from siltation due to flooding caused by heavy rains and other disturbances and also for the expansion of the town’s marine ecosystem.


According to Municipal PESO Manager Michelle G. Rodriguez, the materials for the creation of the artificial reefs were sponsored by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), but they also needed financial assistance to facilitate the labor component of the project.


“When the mayor told me that we needed help for the labor, I immediately thought of OWWA Region VI’s Emergency Employment Project. We have experienced working with OWWA on a previous Cash for Work Project with positive results: The budget was immediately released and we were appropriately guided even in the liquidation process so we value our linkage with OWWA,” Rodriguez said.


CWAP beneficiaries painstakingly load the jackstone-type coral reefs to the bamboo raft which will be tugged by a motorized boat to the protected marine area where the cement reefs will be unloaded.


On the other hand, Barbaza Mayor Gerry C. Necor thanked OWWA for the CWAP assistance and the coordination with DOLE for additional budget for labor.


“We are targeting to produce 200 jackstone type artificial reefs and we are grateful for OWWA for helping us start the project and also involving DOLE Antique in our Earth Day commemoration,” Necor said.


Engr. Milson Delos Reyes, LEO III, of the Department of Labor and Employment Antique Office, also witnessed the release of the artificial reefs and was positive of future aid for the municipality.


“We will try to endorse Barbaza to our the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Programs or DILEEP so that we can support the town in the production of these artificial reefs and help them in the protection and expansion of their coastal resource,” Delos Reyes said.


Engr. Milson Delos Reyes and RD Ron Lionel Bartolome ride the bamboo raft loaded with the artificial reefs.

‘Have the heart to organize’



This is what makes a community organizer effective in doing ground work, according to OWWA Regional Director Ron Lionel M. Bartolome, as he addressed participants during the expectation setting activity of the Appreciation Course on Community Organizing conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment Region VI on April 23-24, 2015 in Gigantes Islands, Carles, Iloilo.


“Skills and techniques can be learned, but the game changer when it comes to community organizing is the heart of the organizer,” Bartolome said.


The OWWA director’s message was also affirmed by the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Director Ponciano M. Ligutom, who was the resource person on the Concepts of Development module.


“C.O. work will give you an opportunity to be more sensitive to clients so that the next time you face someone who comes from a far-flung area like Carles, you will think twice of saying, balik nalang po kayo next time,” Ligutom said.


RD Ponciano M. Ligutom checks how the participants feel about the training during the Expectation Setting and Leveling Off activity.




Organizers of OWWA Region VI got a firsthand experience of what living in the coastal areas was like during the two-night immersion in assigned households from Brgys. Asluman and Granada in Gigantes Norte, and Brgy. Gabi and Lantangan in Gigantes Sur.


Mr. Larry Roque Apruebo, who was promoted to Family Welfare Officer last year after 20 years of service as messenger/utility in the regional office, considered the experience as an eye-opener.


Family Welfare Officers Larry Roque Apruebo (extreme left) and Sherwin Madayag (extreme right) takes a pose with the Magallanes household, their host family in Brgy. Asluman.


“As a husband and a father of three children, I also try to make ends meet just to eke out a living for my family; but during the immersion, I realized that there are still other people who have far worse living situations. Makahalanusbo (It’s distressing),” Apruebo said.


During the second night of their immersion, Apruebo and fellow family officer Sherwin Madayag stayed at the Magallanes household in Brgy. Asluman where the head of the family was a woman.


“Her husband left her ten years ago and Manang Rowena has been the breadwinner of the family ever since. She makes a living by cutting scallop mantles (pagtilap sang scallops) and selling the muscle, which is the part that has high commercial value. She gains 15 pesos per kilo of cut scallops,” Madayag said. “But besides that, she also weaves kugon leaves for hut roofings and sells coffee and Milo.”


(Left) After cutting the meat, Manang Rowena separates and keeps the colored scallop shells so that she can sell them. (Right) Manang Rowena’s son and nephew delivers the cut scallop mantle to buyers. 


According to Apruebo, the family of four only has a six square meter house, and they are more than two kilometers away from the barangay center.


“Larry and I wanted to drink softdrinks and got the kids to come with us. The nearest tiangge where we bought the softdrinks was one kilometer away from the house,” Madayag said.


“The worst part was, the family had no toilet. They only had the rocks and sand as lavatory and urinal and the sea as washing area,” Apruebo added.


Training for newly-hired employees


The Appreciation Course on C.O. was initiated by DOLE – 6 primarily to train the newly hired employees of DOLE and its attached agencies in order for them to develop self-awareness, experience community immersion and rural realities, while learning the fundamental concepts on development.


“On our part, the training is essential for honing our community organizers, putting in mind that OWWA’s main thrust is currently the organization of OFW Family Circles and developing them into self-reliant groups,” Bartolomne said.


The activity was conducted simultaneously with the Strategic Planning and Convergence session of the DOLE-OWWA Higantes Island Development, Enhancement, and Services (HIDES) Project.


A total of 20 new DOLE employees, eight OWWA staff directly involved in community organizing, and four local organizers representing each barangay in Gigantes Islands participated in the said event.


The OWWA delegation.


Atleast fifty (50) seafarers and dependents took advantage of the free demonstration on ice cream making by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Region 7 at the AMOSUP Function Room, Umapad, Mandaue City, Cebu on May 10, 2015.


Mr. Lincoln O. Gaid, Trainer from the University of Southern Philippines Foundation, Cebu City shared his expertise on how to make this sweet indulgence that could also become a lucrative means of livelihood. 


Attendees of the said training actively participated in the said endeavor which they described as a great opportunity to gain further skills and knowledge.  They were all ears as Mr. Gaid enumerated the steps on how to make mango and cookies and cream flavored ice cream. After the demonstration, attendees enjoyed the free ice cream.


Participants keenly observed as Mr. Gaid mixed all the ingredients needed in making a mango-flavored ice cream. 

Participants enjoyed the free ice cream that was given to them after the demonstration.


Prior to the demonstration, OWWA 7’s Overseas Workers Welfare Officer II Dineza G. Espejo also conducted a financial literacy seminar and orientation of OWWA’s Programs and Services. During her discussion, she underscored to the OFW families the importance of saving and venturing in various investment options. She also encouraged the participants to avail of the different programs and services of OWWA.


Annalissa D. Mendez, President of the seafarers’ wives of Knutsen Philippines Incorporated-Cebu Chapter lauded the said endeavor of OWWA and looks forward to more activities that would equip them with skills and knowledge.


OWWA 7’s Overseas Workers Welfare Officer II, Dineza G. Espejo discussed the different programs and services of OWWA and Family Income Management prior to the demonstration on ice cream making.