Marcos eyes skills upgrade for OFWs

by Catherine S. Valente and Franco Jose C. Baroña, The Manila Times

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Marcos eyes skills upgrade for OFWs

‘ONE’ WORKSHOP Migrant Workers Secretary Susan ‘Toots’ Ople announces on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, that the department for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will convene its first strategic planning workshop, titled ‘We A.C.T. As One,’ with all labor attaches in Tagaytay City from December 12 to December 15. PHOTO BY BENEDICT ABAYGAR JR.
‘ONE’ WORKSHOP Migrant Workers Secretary Susan ‘Toots’ Ople announces on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, that the department for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will convene its first strategic planning workshop, titled ‘We A.C.T. As One,’ with all labor attaches in Tagaytay City from December 12 to December 15. PHOTO BY BENEDICT ABAYGAR JR.

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Saturday pushed for better welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as he expressed hope that working abroad would eventually become “a choice rather than a necessity.”

In his message during Go Negosyo’s Kabayan Awards 2022 in Pasay City, Marcos promised better support and training for OFWs to ensure their skills are at par with global standards.

“As President, I assure you that the national government will continuously work to ensure the welfare and competitiveness of our OFWs during my administration. We will continue to pursue initiatives that will ensure your well-being and develop anew the skills that the global workforce requires,” Marcos said in a speech read for him by Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, as the President could not make it.

“At the same time, we will open up more and better opportunities for you at home so that you can help us in writing a new and vibrant chapter for our great nation,” he added.

The President also expressed hope that OFWs will explore local business opportunities and become entrepreneurs to help them provide for their families.

“We aim to make entrepreneurship an avenue where we can help OFWs and their families generate additional income to support their needs,” Marcos said.

“We hope that through entrepreneurship, our OFWs will now have the option to come back home with the ultimate goal of making working abroad a choice rather than a necessity,” he added.

Through the Go Negosyo’s event, Marcos hoped that OFWs would be enlightened on topics such as financial management, smart investing, discerning business opportunities and many others that could help in their reintegration into the economy as entrepreneurs.

“To our participants, it is my hope that you will join the summit with an open mind, allowing yourselves to widen your options for income generation and explore opportunities in the Philippines as an alternative for employment,” the President said.

“Now is the time to tap on your entrepreneurial spirit and your ingenuity that is uniquely Filipino. May these activities today serve as your guiding light as you pursue the next chapter of your livelihood that will allow you not only to contribute to our local economy but also to enrich the quality of lives of your loved ones,” he added.

‘Modern-day heroes’

Meanwhile, Marcos reiterated that OFWs are the country’s “modern-day heroes who bring pride to our country.”

“Wherever you go, you bear the colors of our flag and become ambassadors in your adoptive land, showing the best of what our people can offer,” he said.

The President said the OFWs kept the economy afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Your contributions to the Philippine economy and labor force, in general, are crucial elements to our trajectory toward lasting prosperity,” Marcos said.

“In our country’s most trying times, you remained a solid foundation of our economy, ensuring the generation of remittances to support your loved ones and keep our country afloat. For all this, I thank you,” he added.

Go Negosyo founder Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion 3rd, for his part, said the event aims to “honor the OFWs who have successfully transitioned into entrepreneurship.”

“Many of our OFWs can become catalysts, but they will need the help of our big brothers,” Concepcion said, referring to big businesses and veteran entrepreneurs.

“To become their mentors is critical, to become their champions is a must,” he said. “The President has the commitment of the private sector that we will continue to fight against poverty.”

Putting DMW on OFW map

Meanwhile, Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople on Saturday said her agency will start a massive information campaign to introduce the services of the DMW to OFWs and their families starting next year.

“A lot of our OFWs don’t even know that the DMW now exists, where and how can we be reached, as well as the services that we offer. The DMW needs to make sure that such basic information can be delivered in the most effective and efficient way,” Ople said during a media forum.

Ople added that the DMW is scheduled to convene its first strategic planning workshop, titled “We A.C.T. As One” from December 12 to 15 in Tagaytay City.

“We expect a majority of our labor attaches to fly in and participate in this strategic planning conference, which will also feature resource persons on global security concerns, digitalization efforts and maritime affairs,” Ople said.

DMW Undersecretary Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones said, “A.C.T.” stands for alignment, connection and transition to transformation.

“The workshop will lead to the formulation of the DMW’s strategy map with very clear indicators for performance, professionalism and policy implementation,” Allones added.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma signed a joint circular with Ople on July 7, 2022, placing the administrative supervision of Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) under the DMW.

There are 42 POLOs worldwide whose funding was being drawn from the Department of Labor and Employment.

The DMW was created by law on Dec. 27, 2021, and its P16.323 billion budget will be formalized once President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signs the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2023 into law.

The signing of the GAA will signal the full constitution of the new department, transforming the POLOs into migrant workers’ offices.

DMW foreign posts are mandated by law to assist distressed OFWs not only in labor-related disputes but also when criminal cases are involved.

The DMW will have its Aksyon Fund next year to be used in hiring lawyers and providing psychosocial and other humanitarian assistance to distressed OFWs.


2022-12-04T00:08:26+00:00December 4th, 2022|News|0 Comments

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