First OFW Global Summit, a success | First OFW Global Summit, a success

The forum focused on identifying the most pressing concerns of our Overseas Filipino Workers with the end sight of suggesting doable solutions which would be passed on to government line agencies tasked to address such problems.

First OFW Global Summit, a success

By CHET BAUTISTA

It was a successful hosting of the 1st OFW Global Summit held last Sunday, 7 January 2018 at the TESDA Women’s Hall in Taguig City according to its organizers. Having a theme of “One Voice for Better Rights, Welfare and Protection of our OFWs”, the summit forum was able to harness the presence of the tried and tested veteran advocates to impart their wisdom and combine with the vibrant and energetic new breed of leaders. Although each attendee or group have various issues to impart, it was clear that everyone was united in its goal to address the needs of the OFWs worldwide.

Kicking off the summit proper was the motorcycle motorcade spearheaded by the MCVO riders along with other rider groups from Quezon Memorial Circle up to the TESDA Complex in Taguig City. The motorcade composed of more than fifty riders was a show of support to OFWs from the motorcycle riding community.

True to its summit objectives, the forum focused on identifying the most pressing concerns of our Overseas Filipino Workers with the end sight of suggesting doable solutions which would be passed on to government line agencies tasked to address such problems. With most of the problems identified to be emanating from the Middle East involving Household Service Workers such as maltreatment, physical and moral abuse, rape and sometimes death, the forum organizers and resource speakers urged invited government agency representatives present specifically DOLE, OWWA and DFA to fully augment their efforts in solving these problems encountered by our OFW Kababayans. And since OWWA and DFA reported an increase in their budgets for use in these type of problems it was urged that they implement win-win solutions like hiring more qualified personnel and lawyers adapted to the Middle East culture to effect better implementation of their programs.

Another concern which was much tackled was the re-integration program for returning OFWs. It was suggested that OWWA be more attuned to the needs in terms of financial literacy programs, financial support programs and an easy loans program for would be OFW entrepreneurs. Along this line, it was also suggested that a national registry system for returning balikbayans be implemented. This would identify the skills classification and status of our OFWs and could be utilized for job placements locally and as a basis to help in the nation building projects either as skilled, technical or even professional pool of workers.

In the legislative agenda, it was agreed to support the House Bill creating a separate Department for the OFWs and Migrants, a campaign promise of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Although much debate was done regarding the name of the department, such as Department of OFW or Department of Migration and Development, it was agreed in principle that the bill should concentrate on being the one-stop shop for all the needs of the OFWs and Migrants. That it should provide for the welfare and assistance concerns to all Overseas Filipinos and that it should contain a development aspect such as education and skills upgrading for the OFWs and their families.

Government line agencies who spoke about their programs for OFWs include Dir. Pilar De Leon who represented TESDA Director General Guiling Mamondiong,

OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac who represented DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello and also presented the current programs of OWWA, PEZA Director General Charito Plaza who spoke on the scope and programs of PEZA as a tool for helping the OFWs, Usec. Frank Resma representing the DFA. House of Representatives Congressman Aniceto “John” Bertiz who spoke on House Bill 192 otherwise known as the Creation of the Department of Migration and Development. Also present to give their insights were CPAO to Cong. John Bertiz, Jun Aguilar who explained the creation of the title Department of Migration and Development. Susan “Toots” Ople, President of the Blas F. Ople Center also provided the plenary her insights on Credibility.

Credits are given to resource speakers and moderators who took part in the summit namely Dr. Nicolas Amatorio, OFW Advocate Dr. Abdul Hanan Tago, Ranny Constantino of OFW Council of Leaders, Andrew M. Ociones of Lakbay OFW, Alliver Revilla an OFW Advocate, Francis Oca of Partido Pandaidigang Pilipino, Dr. Carlito Astillero of Gabay OFW, John Adiova of OFWGlobal Movement, Narudin M. Dianalan of Kasapi Congress, Vic Aguilar of Bagong Bicol Saro Jeddah, Engr. Matt Bubong of Gabay OFW, Usman Jauhari an OFW Advocate and Joey Espinosa of MRRD-NECC Eastern Province KSA.

The 1st OFW Global Summit Manila was conceived and headed by Lead Convenor and Chairman Engr. Yusoph Tuano Admain, Co-convenor and Oversight Committee Chair Rashid Aranas Fabricante, Committee Chairs and members Marites Viray, Saga Micawayan, Carmelita Omli, Venecio Legaspi, Nadzker Hartnett, Reuel Lusung Yumul, Paul Madriaga, Jhun Ejanda, Mike Mleht, Engr. Eli Mua, Shane Pacalna Macapodi, Samuel Juan, Dangzky Jammilah Carmi Matan, Juliet Abalos, Zeny H. Concepcion, Nhemia Manguera, Jasmine Mua, Limpayen Sibug Las and Chet Bautista.


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