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Committee on Labor, Employment & Human Resource Development Committee on Foreign Relations holds Legislative Hearing

COTABATO CITY – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OWWA-ARMM) Regional Director Amy B. Crisostomo and Chief of Programs and Services Odin T. Abdula, together with the other members of the Committee on Labor and Employment attended and actively participated in the hearing on October 4, 2016 at Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) Building, ORG Compound, Cotabato City.


The Committee Members of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resource Development Chairman Hanibal H. Tulawie and Members of the Committee on Foreign Relations held a legislative hearing to discuss the rampant issuance of altered birth certificates to minors from the ARMM and to asses/evaluate the situation of our fellow ARMM Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).


During the hearing, proposed resolutions were introduced. Proposed Resolution No. 13, entitled: “A resolution directing the committee on justice to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the rampant issuance of altered birth certificates to minors from the ARMM who are supposedly applying for passports in order to apply to work abroad, with end in view of identifying system loopholes and recommending reforms in the issuance and authentication process of related requirements in applying for passports in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).”


Second, Proposed Resolution No. 25 entitled: “A resolution urging the regional government through the office of the regional governor to assess and evaluate the situation of our ARMM Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and provide measures for assistance and support thereof.”


OWWA-ARMM Regional Director said that OWWA addressed the plight of OFWs in KSA through the Relief Assistance Program (RAP).


RAP is a crisis intervention program consists of a one-time grant of financial assistance provided to the affected OFWs to help them and their families cope with economic and social adjustments.


“As of 3 October 2016, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA-ARMM) assisted a total of 92 OFWs and their families affected by financial difficulties in 9 big firms in Kingdom Saudi Arabia. The figures include OFWs already repatriated and the stranded OFWs’ families in the Philippines,” Director Crisostomo said.


“OWWA has always been true to its mandate, primarily in protecting and promoting the well-being and delivering welfare services and benefits to all OFW members. We encourage OFWs to update and renew their membership with OWWA because when worst comes to worst, they can avail of OWWA’s programs.” she added.


Vice-Chair Irene P. Tillah, RLA Assemblywoman stressed the need of cooperation of the different LGU’s, government entities and other private agencies to address the concerns on the plight of the OFWs and to minimize victims of illegal recruitment.


RLA Assemblywoman Pearl Joy Piang urged the committee to advocate more an intensive information drive of the programs and services of their agencies.


The hearing also discussed the possible establishment of Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in ARMM which is essential to the fulfillment and equality of employment opportunities.

Celebrating Academic Achievement: OWWA-ARMM ODSP Scholar Graduated with Latin Honors

COTABATO CITY – Adnan A. Nasalin, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduated  Cum Laude award during the 7th Commencement Exercises of Hardam Furigay Colleges Foundation, Inc., Basilan on April 15, 2016.


Adnan is a recipient of the OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (ODSP). He is the son of Mr. Jahar A. Nasalin and Mrs. Saripa A. Nasalin from Bato, Lamitan City, Basilan. His sister, OFW Husna A. Nasalin works as a Household Service Worker (HSW) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which qualified Adnan to avail of the Agency’s educational assistance program.


Adnan expressed his sincere thanks to everyone who supported him throughout his journey.


“I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to you, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration of ARMM for accepting me as one of your scholars. Truly, the scholarship is a great help to me in order to pursue my dreams. You are one of my heroes; OFWs are heroes, “Bagong Bayani ng Pilipinas”. Our sacrifices are nothing compare to them.


In addition, I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to my two OFW sisters who toiled hard so I can finish my studies.  The honor I received is not just for me, it’s for all of us. May you continue to bestow, help and motivate the youth of ARMM in pursuing their studies.


Thank you OWWA-ARMM and I am proud to be a scholar!”


Adnan never gave up in achieving his goal of finishing his studies. His perseverance and persistence finally paid off.


“We at OWWA are as proud as Nasalin’s parents. He responded really well to the challenge to become the best in his field of specialization. Indeed, his achievements are both remarkable and inspiring,” Director Crisostomo said.

OWWA 7 Distributed Starter Kits to OFW-Returnees

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Regional Welfare Office 7 distributed livelihood starter kits to ten OFW-returnees last October 7, 2016 at the OWWA Seminar Room.


The livelihood starter kits will be used for food-related ventures of the OFW returnees. “Balik-Pinas, Balik-Hanapbuhay” is a one-time-availment, non-cash, livelihood assistance to returning OFWs who were displaced from their jobs due to wars/political conflicts in their host countries, or were maltreated, or victimized by human trafficking.


Meat Processing Training


OWWA 7 , in coordination with the Department of Manpower Development and Placement (DMDP) of the Cebu City government, conducted a two-day skills training on meat processing for OFW-returnees last August 20-21 at the DMDP Training Room, Ramos Public Market, F. Ramos St., Cebu City.


The training was tied with the “Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay!” Program of OWWA which gives livelihood assistance intended to provide immediate relief to both returning active or non-active OFW members who were displaced from their jobs due to wars or political conflicts in host countries, policy reforms, controls and changes by the host government, illegal recruitment, human trafficking and other distressful situations.


In her message, OWWA 7 Officer-in-Charge Mae D. Codilla extended her high hopes to the OFW-returnees with their small-scale business. She also advised the participants to have determination and hard work to attain success. 


Eleven OFW-returnees, who wished to be reintegrated here and stay for good, joined the meat processing training. Throughout the course of the training, the participants were able to learn the methods on how to make processed meat such as siomai and embotido on the first day; and skinless longganisa and puto cheese on the following day.


DMDP culinary trainers Luzviminda Gomonit and Jovita Laude gave actual demonstrations and lectures on how to prepare, cook, and pack the processed meat. The participants were also given free aprons and hairnets courtesy of the Gaisano Group of Companies.

The OFW participants proudly display their outputs with OWWA 7 welfare officer Dineza Espejo (rightmost), and culinary trainers Luzviminda Gomonit (leftmost) and Jovita Laude (fifth from the left) during the skills training last August 20-21, 2016 at the DMDP Training Room, Ramos Public Market, Cebu City.
OWWA 7 Officer-in-Charge Mae Codilla delivers her welcome address during the meat processing skills training at DMDP Training Room, Ramos Public Market, Cebu City.
DMDP culinary trainer Luzviminda Gomonit gives an actual demonstration on how to make siomai last August 20 at the DMDP Training Room, Ramos Public Market, Cebu City.
OFW-returnees actively participate on their actual demonstration during their skills training on meat processing last August 20-21 at DMDP Training Room, Ramos Public Market, Cebu City.
OFW-returnees happily present their finished output (siomai) during their skills training on meat processing last August 20-21 at DMDP Training Room, Ramos Public Market, Cebu City.
A sample finished products made by the participants of the skills training on meat processing at DMDP Training Room, Ramos Public Market, Cebu City.
OWWA- RWO 7 Officer-in-Charge Mae D. Codilla (right) and Overseas Workers Welfare Office II Dineza Espejo (left) posed with the first batch of OFW returnees during the turnover of the livelihood starter kits last October 7, 2016 at OWWA-RWO 7 Seminar Room.


OWWA 7 Joins the Launching of the One-Stop Services Center for OFWs

For the ease and convenience of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 7, in coordination with other agencies involved in migration,  launched the One-Stop Services Center for OFWs (OSSCO) last October 7 at the second floor of SM City Cebu.


As one of the agencies of the OSSCO, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Regional Welfare Office 7 will facilitate OWWA membership processing and accommodate queries on other programs and services.


In his speech, DOLE 7 Director Exequiel Sarcauga said that the launching of the OSSCO is an immediate response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching order for all regions to establish a one-stop shop that will house all government services.


“President Duterte intended to streamline government services for OFWs in every region in his first 100 days in office. Other regions already have opened their One-Stop Services Center,” he said.


President Duterte asked the labor department to implement the setting up of OSSCOs in every region.


The 352-square meter center at the second floor of SM City Cebu houses 16 different government agencies that offer the necessary government services for people seeking to work abroad.


Services offered can be transacted through these agencies and can be delivered within 72 hours.


Meanwhile, OWWA is available for membership processing and program inquiries from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm from Monday to Saturday.


On the other hand, Apostleship of the Sea Cebu chaplain Rev. Fr. John C. Mission officiated the blessing of the OSSCO.

Overseas Workers Welfare Officer IV Ofelia Maloloy-on happily serves an OFW dependent during the launching of the One-Stop Services Center for OFWs at the second floor of SM City Cebu last October 7, 2016.
A one stop service center for overseas Filipino workers opens at the 2nd level of SM City Cebu last October 9, 2016. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Deputy Administrator Amuertina R. Reyes (in brown) leads the ribbon cutting ceremony. With her are the representatives of the 16 participating agencies including OWWA 7 Officer-in-Charge Mae D. Codilla (third from the right).


OWWA Region 1 Joins 21st Seafarers' Day Celeb

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office I (OWWA RWOI) joined the celebration of the 21st National Seafarers’ Day with the theme- “Marinong Pilipino: Tatak ng Kahusayan,” last October 8, 2016 in Caba, La Union.


Spearheaded by the Diocesan Ministry for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (DMMI), the activity seeks to promote the welfare of the Filipino seafarers and their families. 


More than 300 participants attended the activity, majority of which are students of maritime schools, diocesan schools and other public high schools in La Union. Also present were representatives from government agencies such as the OWWA, Philippine Ports Authority, Philippine Navy, MARINA, Commission on Human Rights, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.


The whole-day activity began with a Eucharistic Celebration at the St. John the Baptist Parish Church, Caba, La Union. Other activities were performances and a lecture on legal concerns governing the seafaring profession.


At present, there are 4,840 active sea-based OWWA members in Region 1.

La Union FWO Khristian Paul Maglaya (2nd from left) and OFW Leader Evelyn Dulay (leftmost) joined in the celebration of the 21st National Seafarers’ Day with the theme-Marinong Pilipino: Tatak ng Kahusayan last October 8, 2016 in Caba, La Union.
Maritime students in La Union took part in the celebration of the 21st National Seafarers’ Day last October 8, 2016 in Caba, La Union with the theme: Marinong Pilipino: Tatak ng Kahusayan.


OWWA Provides Medical Assistance To OFW Villar

Davao City – The newly appointed OWWA Administrator, Hans Leo J. Cacdac, together with OWWA-RWO XI Regional Director Eduardo E. Bellido, personally handed the medical assistance amounting to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) to OFW Marichu Tampol Villar  last October 6, 2016 at the Davao del Sur Provincial Hospital, Digos City. The said amount will help her defray cost of medicines, laboratories, EENT examination and CT Scan after suffering from severe maltreatment from her employer.


OFW Villar, 29 years old, from Brgy. Manga, Matanao, Davao del Sur worked as a Household Service Worker for two years (August 20, 2014-September 29, 2016) in Doha, Qatar. During her employment, she was subjected to physical and verbal abused by the wife of her employer. She sustained first degree burns on her face,  legs, back and other parts of the body. She also has bruises in her head which was the result of banging and being hit by hard objects.


When she arrived home last September 30, 2016, she was immediately taken to Davao del Sur Provincial Hospital by her family and relatives for immediate medical attention.


The OWWA Regional office came to know of her case through her cousin Junel Villar who sent her photos to the region’s facebook account and e-mail last October 4, 2016 with the report of POLO Qatar. According to Junel, he posted it in the social media to draw attention and ask justice for Marichu.


Admin Cacdac said, aside from the medical assistance, OFW Villar will also be entitled to livelihood assistance under the Balik-Pinas Balik-Hanapbuhay program, a scholarship grant for any short-term courses worth P14,500.00, and disability assistance which will be determined after her EENT examination and check-up. Likewise, she will be provided with legal assistance during the filing of case against her employer. “Marichu, her son and family will be provided with psycho-social counseling to cope up with their traumatic experience”, the administrator added.


Despite of what had happened, OFW Villar remained strong and resolute and willing to file a case against her employer. OWWA, on the other hand, assured the family of support in pursuing the case. Margarita Villar, mother of Marichu, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to OWWA for all the support extended to them.

OWWA-ARMM Inks Memorandum of Agreement with the Academe

COTABATO CITY – To intensify its education program for OFWs and their dependents, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OWWA-ARMM) has inked a Memorandum of Agreement with two schools last September 6, 2016.


The signing were led by OWWA-ARMM Regional Director Amy B. Crisostomo with Elma L. Maliga, school president of Sapakan National High School, Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao, in the presence of OWWA-ARMM FWO Moctar S. Ulama and Mayor Engr. Zamsamin L. Ampatuan, CESO I, and Bonifacio E. Valdez, MD., PhD, president of VMC Asian College Foundation, Inc., Tacurong City.


The agreement strengthens the partnership between the agency and the said schools in providing Skills-to-Employment Scholarship Program (SESP) to the clients, specifically to OWWA members and their beneficiaries in the area.


“Rest assured that VMC Asian College Foundation, Inc. will continue to promote excellent standard and assist students to become productive members of the society,” Valdez said.


On the other hand, expressing gratitude for the privilege given, Maliga said he looks forward to a fruitful partnership.


Director Crisostomo said OWWA-ARMM continues to seek for prospective partners to provide the agency’s scholars a wider range of options in selecting the right schools that could best meet their needs and interests.

National Capital Region
RWO-NCR Conducts Skills Training on Personal Care Products at Pasig City Hall

The Regional Welfare Office – National Capital Region (RWO-NCR), in partnership with Ultima Entrepinoy Forum Center, conducted a free training on personal care products last 05 October 2016 at the Pasig City Hall.


Mary Rose Rivera from Ultima Entrepinoy Forum Center spoke to about 50 members of OFW Family Circles (OFCs) who attended the event. She demonstrated the process of making dishwashing liquids, hand sanitizers, and lotions for personal use and business.


“Some of the benefits of creating your own personal care products include being able to ensure the quality of the products while earning and supporting your families. All we need are the right materials, instructions, and hard work,” encouraged Ms. Rivera.


Pasig City OFC President Susan Jarina heartily agreed and encouraged all the participants to apply what they learned.


Let us all make sure that the knowledge and materials that we obtain today don’t just stay in our heads or inside our cabinets. We should work together to help our families and our communities,” Ms. Jarina remarked.


Family Welfare Officer Carlyn Dungca was overjoyed with the outcome of the training. “Hopefully through skills trainings like these, may the OFCs be more empowered to maximize their skills and time while their relatives are working outside of the country,” she said.


The RWO-NCR provides free skills trainings to members of OFCs as part of OWWA’s community-based programs and interventions for OFWs and their dependents.

(From left to right: Mary Rosa Rivera from Ultima Entrepinoy Forum Center facilitates training on personal care products; Pasig City OFCs listen attentively to the speaker; Ms. Rivera demonstrates how to create hand sanitizers and other similar products; OFC members take a closer look at the materials and products; Ms. Rivera gives free samples of products created; OFC members pose with training facilitator.)


OWWA-RWO VI Conducts Financial Literacy Seminars to Capiz OFC members

As part of its coordination efforts and services to the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) communities in the region, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-Regional Welfare Office (OWWA-RWO) VI held a series of trainings on Financial Literacy, Savings Mobilization, and Values Formation in different barangays in Capiz in September.


Members from various local OFW Family Circle (OFC) groups attended the workshops in Brgy. Sta. Cruz on September 22, Brgy. Poblacion Sur on September 23, Brgy. Matnog on September 27, Brgy. Ondoy on September 28, and Brgy. Poblacion Norte on September 29.


Jade Love Omapas, Overseas Worker Welfare Officer (OWWO) I, taught the participants on developing values formation and savings mobilization skills, while Family Welfare Officers (FWOs) Remon Albueza and Sherwin Madayag explained financial literacy concepts and application.

Participants are asked to categorize their “needs” and “wants” during the savings mobilization workshop.

The seminars aimed at teaching participants to identify their values system, to help them achieve their goals for their families, and to allow them to form necessary skills and knowledge on savings that would give them insights to scout various investment opportunities.


A total of 276 people attended the said trainings.

(Kneeling): Jade Love Omapas, OWWO I, and Sherwin Madayag, FWO, pose with the participants of the seminar.


OWWA RWO XII in convergence with DTI XII conducts Enhanced Entrepreneurial Development Training

KORONADAL CITY – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office XII (OWWA RWO-XII) in partnership with Department of Trade and Industry Regional Office XII (DTI RO 12) thru Negosyo Centers, conducted Enhanced Entrepreneurial Development Training (EEDT) to aspiring migrant workers entrepreneurs. This convergent training is in line with the implementation of Enterprise Development and Loan Program (EDLP), an enhanced Reintegration program of said agency.


It soughts to equip OFWs and their dependents in the establishment of viable business enterprise that will provide them with a steady income stream and create employment opportunities in their community.   


The first tranche of EEDT was held on October 4-5, 2016 at DTI- Negosyo Center General Santos City and actively participated by sixteen (16) committed prospective OFW entrepreneurs. Participants were given training/workshops in choosing the right enterprise that would their skills and passion.  Crafting of a simplified business proposal and financial management were also introduced to them.


The same training will also be conducted to all qualified OFWs and their dependents, who wish to avail the said loan facility program in the different partner DTI-Negosyo Centers in SOCCSKSARGEN Region.


The OFW-EDLP, formerly known as OFW-Reintegration Program (OFW-RP), is an enterprise development intervention and loan facility of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in partnership with Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) intended to support enterprise development among OFWs and their families.

Figure 1. Ms. Kristine Marie H. Sison, OWWO III / Program Manager conducts the Orientation about the Program.
Figure 3-A. Ms. Sharon B. Medicillo, DTI Business Consultant speaks about Business Appreciation.
Figure 2-B. Mr. Regi Jan Villaruel, DTI Business Consultant Introducing Ideas on how to Start the Business.