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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY --- Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) Region X supports the creation of the inter-agency task force that conducts interim guidelines for prevention and control of any potential epidemic in the country such as Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Avian Influenza and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV). Such collaboration of OWWA with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and other concerned agencies is spearheaded by Department of Health (DOH).


Aim of the task force is to sustain all coordination from the national government down to the regional offices to provide educational and informational devices in promoting public awareness and community engagement in the prevention measures. OWWA’s objective of dissemination is to be included during the Pre-Departure Seminar (PDOS) since globalization and increased mobility of people in the case of working overseas heightens the risk of disease proliferation.


 “Naa naman tay naapil nga mga discussion sa PDOS about sa HIV ug uban pang klase na sakit na na-proliferate sa ubang nasud, wala pa lang gyud tay about aning sa Ebola (During PDOS, we already included HIV and other proliferating diseases in the discussions except for the latest which is Ebola)”, OWWO III Eugene Mesias, articulates.  


Up to now, OWWA actively participates in the ongoing constitution and development of the task force inter-agency which the meeting started December last year and will be regularly held quarterly this year especially in coming up with further plans of incorporating modules during PDOS.


This is as well a proactive response to the growing national security concern where Executive Order No 168, known as Creating the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Philippines, is passed by President Benigno S. Aquino III last May 26, 2014.

ODSP Scholar from Bukidnon State University

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY --- Learning is a lifetime process. The more the exploration, the more frontier of wisdom it gets. “College life can make you independent, enhanced your eyebags, calloused your fingers, abused your brain, deteriorated your whole being and exposed you to life’s cruelties and yet you’re still alive and kicking’, a random quote once states. 


Jullie Jhay Collantes Sanchez, is one of Regional Welfare Office 10’s ODSP (OFW – Dependents Scholarship Program) scholar, a college freshman from Bukidnon State University pursuing Elementary Education. During her high school senior years, she once wondered if she can really survive college. As a fourth child from five siblings and a witness to her family’s perseverance, she said she owes everything a lot to her parents and strives to finish school to return the favor. Her mother, OFW Daisy Joy Sanchez works as a Household Service Worker in United Arab Emirates since 2008 while her father stood as their guardian and simultaneously works as a Driver. 


Upon hearing the ODSP scholarship from her mother, she immediately complied the requirements and thankfully passed the exam last 2014. She hopes that this lightens the financial burden of their family.


College is not easy and I have difficulties adjusting at first just like anybody does”, she exclaims. Of course it’s definitely a new school, new environment, new people and new story. “Aside from that, I’m far from my family in Quezon, Bukidnon and now living my college days in Malaybalay City with the goal to graduate”, she added.


Again, like every freshmen, she actively joins clubs and participates in sports league especially in the basketball team during Intramurals to develop sportsmanship aside from developing active lifestyle. She also gets involve in ground demonstrations, photography and essay writing.


“I value education because my future matters the most. It’s not just about going to school in order to attain a degree or a title but to learn and face the bitter fangs of a monster that submerges us in the hot piercing liquid called reality”, she speaks. Accordingly, her studies are not just to impress their parents, family, friends and even enemies. It’s the possibility of living, deciding life’s choices and acceptance.


Now, Jullie Jhay is about to finish her 1st year college this coming March 2015 and still strides until she gets to finish  another three years and finally wear her toga of achievement.

OWWA Caraga provides EDT to Lingig OFC members

Butuan City (February 24) –A two-day Entrepreneurship Development Training (EDT) for Lingig OFW Family Circle (OFC) was facilitated by Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Regional Welfare Office Caraga in partnership with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on February 17 -18 held at Poblacion Barangay Hall, Municipality of Lingig, Surigao del Sur.


Trade and Industry Development Specialists, Marlinda Caser and Rhosallee Espinoza served as the resource speakers of the two-day training participated by thirty-two (32) members of Lingig OFC. 


The first day session included leveling of expectations and discussion on business awareness. Moreover, the concept and importance of making a business plan and the basic operations involved in business were tackled on the second day. Various workshops related to financial management were also conducted to evaluate and determine the capacity of the participants in business undertaking. 


Before the training ended, the participants also shared their insights and impression on the activity.  


Ednalina Masancay, President of Lingig OFC, was delighted with the training which accordingly has restored their learning in arithmetic operations and encouraged them to become entrepreneurs. 


Lingig OFC vice-president, Neome Adlawan, on the other hand, expressed her appreciation to OWWA for the training privilege provided to them and likewise to DTI for sharing their knowledge on entrepreneurship.


Mapasalamaton usab kami sa among mga anak nga naningkamot sa abroad dili tungod nila dili mi makaattend ug ingon ani nga activity (We are also thankful to our children who worked efficiently abroad, if not because of them we cannot attend in this kind of activity),” Adlawan said. 


The EDT is part of the family support and reintegration services afforded by OWWA to the OFW Family Circles in need of technical assistance prior to developing a livelihood project or business enterprise.


Resource Speakers from DTI, Ms. Marlinda Caser and Ms. Rhosallee Espinoza efficiently discuss their expertise on business planning and financial management.


EDT participants take a group shot after receiving their training certificates


Winners of group activities receive their prizes

Bislig Youth Org joins Values Formation, Financial Literacy Seminar

Butuan City (February 25) – Some twenty (20) members of Youth Generation of Bislig City organization actively participated in Values Formation and Financial Literacy Seminar facilitated by Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Caraga on February 22, 2015 at Florland Resort, San Vicente, Bislig City.


OIC, Programs and Services Chief Ma. Ireen Cambaling said “the activity aims to provide the OFW dependents mainly the youth, insights on financial management and likewise to reorient them on essential values they can apply in their daily practice.”  


In her opening statement, Margarita Garay, Bislig City Counselor and Committee Chair on Women and Family, shared her insights on OFW family relations. 


“Being an OFW is never easy but because of their love for the family, they chose to work overseas in order to provide the needs of their loved ones. However, some OFWs lost love and time in exchange of money,” expressed Garay, who is also a mother of an OFW.


Aside from being a successful entrepreneur herself, Garay also added inspiration to the youth by citing a story of a utility worker who turns into a successful entrepreneur. 


“Success comes when you put your creative idea into action,” Garay claimed.   


To provide the participants deeper understanding on Financial Literacy, Cambaling also facilitated workshops.


Moreover, Rev. Fr. Edwin Decena focused his lecture on Values Formation by giving emphasis on the essence of Family Values.


Decena conveyed that, the family is the most important bond where everyone can find the sense of belongingness.


“It is the family who takes care of our well-being and also who gives us teachings that guides us throughout our lives and these are the values we carry everywhere we go,” added Decena. 


Sylvia Daroy, the Bislig Youth Org president and also an OWWA scholar, opined that the seminar drawn her to realize the value of the family in molding them to become better individuals. 


Similarly, Rexchele Ilamina articulated, the seminar instilled in them the importance of saving and managing finances not only for the present but also in preparation for the future.


Family Welfare Officer Lorie Ann Hilongos assisted in the formation of Youth Generation of Bislig City, an organization of OFW dependents and OWWA scholars.


Bislig City Counselor MargaritA Garay shares an inspirational message to the participants of the seminar. 


FWO Lorie Ann Hilongos facilitated the leveling of expectations and preliminary activities


Rev. Fr. Edwin Decena stress out in his lecture, the role of the family in molding the youth


OIC-PSD Chief Ma. Ireen Cambaling provides insights on financial management to the participants

OWWA RWO VI holds Staff Development and Year-end Assessment and Planning Session

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office VI conducted its staff development and year-end assessment and planning session at Cabugan Island Adventure Resort on February 07-08, 2015.


Regional Director Ron Lionel M. Bartolome emphasized that there will be a streamlining in the office systems and operations this year.


“We will be frontloading all targets this year to avoid last quarter cramming,” Dir. Bartolome said. “We will also be establishing a tracking system on all programs – from the receipt of application up to the fund release, to appropriately pinpoint problem areas. The changes will also call for assignments of personnel to support operations.”


After discussing the improved office operation process, the director proceeded to explain the direction of community organizing this year.


“In order to determine which OFW Family Circles are really still active, we have to monitor and re-map them. Kahit 85 lang yan, basta buo ang lahat ng grupo, gumagalaw, at natututukan natin,” he added.


After the talk on community organizing, the office staff broke into small groups. The organizing staff, administrative staff, and programs personnel were separated for additional discussion on their respective roles and responsibilities.


In the afternoon, after the planning and assessment, the Region VI office staff enjoyed bonding moments at the beach.


The staff development activity is an annual program of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to help the staff learn about new responsibilities, develop necessary skills and competencies required to accomplish institutional and divisional goals, and grow personally and professionally to prepare themselves for advancement in the organization and even beyond the office.


Sherwin Madayag and Jade Love Omapas, OWWA Family Welfare Officers, listen to Dir. Bartolome during the lecture on Community Organizing.


In line with the thrust of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to build self-reliant OFW family circles, OWWA RWO VI conducted an organizational development training (ODT) for the newly OFW Family Circles (OFCs) of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental on November 29, 2014 and Concepcion, Iloilo, on December 1 and 2, 2014. 


The organizational development seminar covered a Values Formation Seminar and trainings on Basic Parliamentary Procedure and Making of Basic Constitution and By-laws. 


The Basic Module on Parliamentary Procedures provided the members with basic knowledge on how to formally facilitate meetings within the organization. The Process of Drafting a Constitution and By-laws for OFW Organizations on the other hand, gave them an idea on how to make their CBL which will be submitted to DOLE as one of the requirements for registering Rural Workers Assosciations (RWAs).


A total of 20 barangay captains and 20 OFW and OFW dependents participated in the ODT in Pontevedra, Negros Occidental.


Mayor Jose Maria A. Alonso also graced the activity and commended the efforts of OWWA for reaching out to the constituents of Pontevedra. In return, he committed the LGUs support for the initiatives of the group.


OWWA Regional Director Ron Lionel M. Bartolome, on the other hand, thanked the warm response of the people of Pontevedra and the active support of the local government officials in the town. He said that OWWA will keep in touch with the group and will continue to assist them in their growth as an organization.


Meanwhile, OFCs from Concepcion, Iloilo also welcomed the organizational development training from OWWA.


A total of 17 leaders from the mainland barangays of Concepcion participated in the ODT on December 01, 2014. In addition, some 15 group officers from the Island Barangays attended the training on December 02, 2014. 


During the morning sessions, OWWA LCO Shelly Mae J. Solis covered the Values Formation orientation which focused more on honing shared values and adoption of a team mindset.  She also discussed the correct way of conducting parliamentary procedures and drafting a basic constitution and by-laws during the afternoon sessions.


Mrs. Ninfa Loredo, president of the Calamigan OFW Association in Concepcion, a former household service worker and an OFW leader in Hong Kong, expressed her enthusiasm in the organization of migrant groups in Concepcion during the training.


“The training is a good way to awaken the interests of the leaders in our newly formed groups to really aim for registration to DOLE. We will strive to register all groups in our barangays and conduct an OFW convention and induction of all officers by February or March through the help of OWWA and the local government unit,” said Mrs. Loredo.

OWWA Caraga holds Consultative Meeting with OFCs in AgNor

Butuan City ( February 3, 2015) – In a bid to strengthen the OFW Family Circles (OFCs) and map out strategies for organizational enhancement, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Regional Welfare Office 13 called for a Consultative Meeting, on Sunday, participated with OFCs in the areas of Butuan City  and Nasipit, Agusan del Norte. 


Around 70 OFWs and OFW dependents who are active and non-active members of OFCs attended the said activity held at OWWA Training Hall. Each OFC representative expressed the problems faced by their organization and their hopes to gain both technical and financial assistance from OWWA.


Minda Olaer, an OFW dependent, articulated that she was at first hesitant with OWWA but after listening to the discussion, she and other members of their group from Rosewood Subdivision were encouraged to fortify their OFC to augment livelihood opportunities.


Moreso, Eva Alvarez, a Brgy. Kagawad from Talisay, Nasipit and is also an OFW Dependent, was looking forward for assistance from OWWA for possible availment of skills training programs of OFW dependents especially the youth in their area which may help them land better employment. 


In his message, Officer-in-Charge, Regional Director Eduardo Bellido cited the importance of said assembly to assess the status of the OFCs and classify possible interventions which the agency can develop to address the needs of the group. 


He also pointed out that the agency and the OFCs must exert collective efforts and work both ways in attaining the desired project. Likewise, he stressed that forming a registered organization is advantageous for OFWs to obtain organizational development trainings and livelihood grant not only from OWWA but also from other partner regional line agencies.


Bellido assured that OWWA will visit abovementioned areas in the following days to set another assembly with each OFC to tackle the subsequent pace to be undertaken by both parties.


For CY 2014, OWWA has 60 maintained OFCs which were provided organizational development seminars and skills trainings.  For this year, 32 OFCs are targeted to be organized and be provided with the same trainings which aim to create community enterprise or generate skills for employment. 


RD Eduardo Bellido thoroughly discusses to the participants the importance of forming OFCs and laid out the family support reintegration services of OWWA for them. 

OFW repatriated from Libya received starter kit

Mr. Domingo M. Espinoza, an OFW repatriated from Libya received a starter kit on complete welding tools and equipment at the OWWA Regional Welfare Office XI. He worked as a Welder at Valesco Company in Libya but unable to finish his contract due to political crisis and repatriated on June 16, 2014. 


As a displaced worker, he availed of the Balik-Pinas Balik-Hanapbuhay program of OWWA. Since he has a passion in welding, he made a business plan that will help him achieve his dream to have his own welding shop. When his business plan was approved, he went to the Regional Office to receive the complete welding tools and equipment. “I am so happy and thankful to OWWA for granting my request. This will really help me in pursuing my plan to have my own welding shop at home”, said 47 years old Espinoza. Presently, he has a small shop in Bangkal, Davao City but no welding machine. With the starter kit he received, he can start his own livelihood and earn income.  “I will no longer apply for work abroad because OWWA gave me a chance to enhance my skills that would provide a better income for my family”, Mr. Espinoza added. He plans to accept welding jobs such as window grills, gates, plant racks/stands and much more. Aside from the starter kit he received, he also availed of the Financial Relief Assistance from OWWA amounting to Ten Thousand Pesos (P10, 000.00) in cash. Likewise, he took the opportunity to enroll a Forklift Operator course at TESDA under the Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP). 


14 January 2015, Lucena City, Quezon Province. RWO IV-A, cooperating with Summid CALABARZON, actively participated in a Reintegration Counseling activity. The third and last day of the activity where RWO IV-A was invited was a panel discussion on Linking with the National Government and Civil Society Organizations for Social Reintegration Programs.


24 participant-representatives from different government agencies and non-government organizations gather for the seminar. Key speakers on the panel discussion include RWO IV-A’s very own; Reintegration Unit Head Avelina Sheryl Briton-Caya who talked about OWWA’s reintegration and reintegration preparedness programs. Other notable speakers include Ms. Melanie Jean Montas of NRCO IV-A, Mr. Elfred Del Rosario of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Ms. Aileen Constantino-Penas of Atikha, Inc., and Atty. Melojean Puache, acting PESO Manager for the provincial government of Quezon.


Workshops and roleplaying activities were done in order to simulate the participants and for them to have a picture of the stages of migration and the process of reintegration. After the energizing activities, the participants drafted concrete action plans for cascading financial literacy and reintegration, as well as planning and counseling.


The goal of the activity is to strengthen the agency’s reintegration preparedness programs and widen its network of cooperation with fellow government agencies and civil society organizations in assisting in the reintegration process of OFWs and their families. With a couple of reintegration activities done at the very start of the year, RWO IV-A remains positive that such programs would empower OFW families and thus alleviate the social and economic costs of overseas migration, as well as to contribute to development and nation-building in general.


OWWO III Avelina Sheryl S. Briton-Caya conducts an organizational briefing on OWWA’s Programs and Services, focusing on its Reintegration Programs (Left) and answered some inquiries and clarifications on OWWA’s reintegration programs and services in an open forum (Right).


29-30 January 2015, Alabat, Quezon. Avelina Sheryl S. Briton-Caya and Marita A. Ablis of the Reintegration Unit conducted Values Re-orientation Seminar (VRS) as part of the agency’s goal to ensure its reintegration preparedness programs to members who showed interest and invested efforts in participation for such activities. 


50 participants from the two OFW associations of Poblacion gathered at Brgy. 3, Poblacion, Alabat for the seminar. OFWs, returnees, and dependents participated enthusiastically in the activities laid down in the module. Through the workshops, some have unleashed talents they never knew they had, while others had realized some values and morals which remained taken for granted or ignored until the said re-orientation activity. 


The goal of the VRS is to prepare the OFWs and their families for the former’s reintegration stage; or the period where the OFW, at the very most favorable circumstance, decides to stay in the country for good. This very crucial reintegration phase often requires rigid preparedness and cooperation within the family in order to integrate oneself back to the mainstream Philippine economy and lifestyle. The module intended to embed the participants the right attitude and perspective toward an improved and empowered way of living as OFW dependents and responsible citizens as well.


The VRS, unlike other reintegration programs, is mostly aimed on the social, moral and spiritual aspect of the phase rather than the technical and financial aspect alone. The module intended to “re-orient” values upon participants which are anchored in a development-oriented change, honing OFW families as agents of social change.


Roleplaying, crafting, and other group dynamics help enhance the participants’ internalization in re-orienting moral values.