In order to capacitate local government units in managing cases of distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), the Provincial Government of Cavite (PGC) through the collaborative effort of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) and Cavite Migration and Development Office (CMDO) conducted a Capability Building Training for Local Migration and Development Actors on September 12-13, 2019 at the AVP Room of the College of Nursing, Cavite State University (CvSU) – Main Campus in Indang, Cavite.

The event was attended by representatives from the Municipal and City Social Welfare and Development Office, Local Government Units, Public Employment and Services Office, OFW organization, staff of DTI’s Negosyo Center and students from CvSU. They were acknowledged and warmly welcomed by Mr. Rolando Antonio, Research Coordinator of the College of Nursing

The training proper was led by Ms. Precyl Ramos, Social Welfare Officer III of the PSWDO.  She discussed the Migration and Development Situationer in the country wherein 10% or 10.2 million of the Philippine Population are Overseas Filipinos (OFs) working in 193 countries all over the world.  With the aforementioned data, Cavite topped the number of both land and sea-based overseas workers. She also discussed the positive and negative effects of migration to the country and community as well as the social cost of migration to the families and migrants as she emphasized the problems caused by overseas migration. To address these issues, Ms. Ramos tackled the role of the government in the national and regional level and the province’s initiatives in responding to OF clients and their families.

To better understand and be aware of the issues and challenges of the migrants and families and to facilitate proper counseling for distressed OFs, topics on the reintegration, planning and counseling process were also presented.

In the afternoon, OWWA Region 4a Coordinator, Mr. Rosauro Dela Rosa Octaviano presented a Pre-Migration Orientation Seminar wherein he brought the participants to a tour of realities.  Answering the questions, What lure the Filipinos to Work abroadAre you QualifiedWhat it takes to become an OFWWhat will you leave and miss and the pros and cons of working overseas. He also mentioned the challenges of being OFs that in order to survive, OFWs must be able to successfully adapt and adjust to the culture, working condition and environment of the host country.  Failure to do so may lead to premature termination of contract and an abrupt end to their search for better opportunity.

He also conveyed the programs and services being offered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) such as Social Benefits Program, Education and Trainings Assistance Program, Workers Welfare Assistance Program and Social and Family Welfare Services.

Meanwhile, Ms. Sheryll Loyola of the Provincial Cooperative, Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development Office (PCLEDO) brought up the topic about the CMDO programs and services for OFs in Cavite like the Psycho-Social and Financial Assistance Services under the PSWDO, Department of Education – Cavite, Provincial Population Office and Provincial Legal Office. Economic and Capacity Building Services offered by Provincial ICT Office, Provincial PESO, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist and PCLEDO.

On the second day, package of services for OFs and their families were conversed by the representatives from various national line agencies. Ms. Jenelyn Dino, TESDA Focal Person presented the types of trainings they conducted be it institution-based, enterprise-based and community-based.  She also mentioned the requirements and procedures in the program registration and accreditation system and the process for assessment and certification.

Mr. Rico Chavez from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Cavite explained their shared services facility project that refers to common production center that give MSMEs access to better technology and equipment to accelerate their bid for competitiveness and tap wider markets and be integrated in the global supply chain. Among other services being provided by the DTI were the SME Roving Academy, Negosyo Center Services, Kapatid Mentor ME and OTOP Next Gen.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) programs and services for OFs and members of their families were presented by Ms. Evangeline Pangiligan and Ms. Rhodora Sajor of DSWD – Region 4a.  Under the DSWD, the International Social Services Office (ISSO) was created. Among its mandates were to act as the central authority on matters related to international social services for OFs and shall ensure that ISSOs at foreign posts deliver and provide appropriate, effective, and efficient programs and services for distressed and undocumented OFs and their families.  As of date, there are seven Foreign Service posts with Social Welfare Attaches situated in Qatar, Malaysia, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Riyadh and Jeddah in KSA and Dubai, UAE. Some of the programs and services being provided at the Posts are Psychosocial Intervention, Emotional Healing/Value Inculcation Sessions and Pre-marriage Counseling.

Continuous monitoring of the recovery, aftercare service and reintegration program upon return of the distressed OFs to the Philippines is now being facilitated by the ISS Regional field Offices/LSWDOs.  Specific programs and services provided to them are provision of financial assistance, Psychosocial Services, Temporary Shelter assistance, Sustainable Livelihood Programs and others.

During the open forum, participants had the chance to raise their queries and made some clarifications regarding the assistance being provided for Filipino migrants and their families. Relevant issues on reintegration phase (pre-departure, on-site and successful return) were also cleared up.

After the training, representatives from municipal and city social workers, PESO, DTI and academe were asked to share their insights and learnings.

Ms. Felipa G. Servanez, PSWD Head, expressed her deepest appreciation to all the speakers who willingly shared their knowledge and expertise.  She also shared in brief the milestone of CMDO. Likewise, she extended her gratefulness to all the attendees believing that they were the right representatives of the LGUs who were capable of providing support to the migrant sectors in the society.