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DOLE-OWWA inks agreement with Cebu Province on the creation of an OFW Help Desk

Cebu City, Philippines. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Cebu Provincial Government yesterday cemented their partnership on the creation of an OFW Help Desk. 

Witnessed by the various OFW Group Leaders in the Visayas and representatives from the Visayas Maritime Stakeholders at the Social Hall of the Cebu Provincial Capitol, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, being the OWWA Board of Trustees Chairperson and Governor Hilario P. Davide III signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DOLE and the Province of Cebu on said initiative. 

Acting as witnesses to the signing were Deputy Administrator Josefino I. Torres of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Congressman Jesulito A. Manalo of ANGKLA-Party List, who was both praised by Bello and Davide for having actively involved in the discussions made, which brought about said agreement. 

Secretary Bello thanked the Cebu Provincial Government and all the DOLE’s social partners, especially Congressman Manalo, for wholeheartedly welcoming the undertaking, which is seen to boost people’s access, particularly that of the OFWs, to the programs and services of the DOLE-OWWA. 

“Malaking tulong ito para sa mga kababayan nating mga OFWs. We fervently hope that with this intiative, walang OFW na ma-aagrabiyado dito sa Cebu,” said the Labor Chief, who added that with the creation of the OFW Help Desk, the LGU of Cebu Province will go hand in hand with the DOLE in recognizing its responsibility to provide immediate and appropriate assistance to the OFWs and their families in the Province. 

According to OWWA-7 DA Torres, in 2017, a total of 748 OFW Help Desks have been established in the entire county, five (5) of which are located in the Province of Cebu. 

“The initiative of the Provincial Government of Cebu to set-up OFW Help Desks in all cities and municipalities in the Province is very laudable for it will definitely provide our Cebuano OFWs and their families ready and easy access to the programs and services of the government institutions involved,” said Torres, who revealed that Region-7 is among the Top 10 point-of-origin regions of OFWs. 

OFW deployment, he added, increased from 117,000 in 2009 to 123,000 in 2012 and to 155,000 in 2015. 

He congratulated the Cebu Provincial Government, the DOLE-OWWA-7 and ANGKLA for the noble undertaking, saying that the Cebuano OFWs deserve no less. 

The Region recorded 237,000 OFWs, of which, 70% come from Cebu Province. Land-based OFWs accounted 74% and 26% for the Sea-based OFWs out of the total number of OFWs in the Province. 

Marking a milestone in the promotion of the welfare and protection of the interests of the OFWs, the MOA signing, said Secretary Bello, will pave the way for the provision of current information to the OFWs on all processes and aspects involved in overseas employment. 

“The OFW Help Desk being at the grassroots level, will help intensify dissemination of information on the various programs and services designed for the OFWs. It will ensure faster service delivery and better protection for them, enhancing OFW empowerment by way of identifying, planning, and developing priority programs not only for the OFWs themselves but also for their families,” added the DOLE Secretary. 

The signing was also witnessed by Vice Governor Agnes A. Magpale; Congressman Peter John D. Calderon and representatives from some non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 

Also present were Cebu Provincial Board Members Earl Tidy H. Oyas; Thadeo Jovito Ouano; Glenn Bercede; Sun Shimura; Yolanda Daan; and Christopher Baricuatro. 

The DOLE-Regional Office No. 7 was represented by OIC-Regional Director Cyril L. Ticao and OIC-Assistant Regional Director Lilia A. Estillore. At the forefront from the OWWA Regional Office was OIC-Regional Director Mae D. Codilla.

The DOLE-Regional Coordinating Committee (DOLE-RCC-7) Heads also showed support with their presence and the following came: Atty. Rhett Casino of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA); Presiding Commissioner Violeta O. Bantug of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC-7TH Division); Ingrid Z. Yumang of the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC REU-7); Dexter F. Paro of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO-7); Edmund T. Mirasol of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB-7); Grace G. Carreon of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB-7); Gina T. Emperado of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC-7); and Gines Timosa of the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC-REU 7).

 

End//LSenarlo-Taniza 

For more information on this report, you may contact Luchel Senarlo-Taniza, Regional Labor Communication Officer at telefax number (032) 266-2792 or you may send an email at dole_centralvisayas@yahoo.com

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2018-01-23
ATTY JOHNSON CAƑETE
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