Filipino Migrant Workers Day

Despite the speeches about overseas Filipino workers being heroes of our country, not very many really care about them.

The bad treatment they get at government offices—especially at the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration—is a sign that they are not really looked up to as heroes.
Another sign is that, in general, government officials (outside of the DOLE, POEA, OWWA universe) and business and civic leaders don’t know that it’s Filipino Migrant Workers Day today.

A law, Republic Act 8042, the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995, includes a provision calling for the national celebration of Filipino Migrant Workers Day. President Fidel Ramos then issued an Executive Order declaring June 7 of every year as the date for the celebrations. The celebration today is the 15th annual observance of Migrant Workers Day.

RA 8042 also established the promotion of overseas employment as a policy. It holds the government responsible for protecting Filipino migrant workers and promoting their and their families’ welfare. It also tells the government to assist overseas Filipinos in distress.

Thanks to such commercial establishments as the SM Group, there will be some public celebrations honoring the OFWs in all the SM supermalls. Of course, because it’s their job to make the necessary manifestation of respect and affection, the OWWA has programs, too.

Mascot Migoy
Last year, the national OWWA offices introduced Mascot Migoy, who is supposed to represent the OFW, on June 7. OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon conferred a medallion on the lifesize funny character reminiscent both of Kenkoy and Mickey Mouse. The ceremony was OWWA’s way of “paying tribute to the talents and contributions of expatriate Filipino workers to nationbuilding.”

Administrator Dinzon honored chosen OFWs in a program at Philsports Arena in Pasig City. And in 17 cities with OWWA offices, there were activities to celebrate Migrant Workers Day.

Today, in some cities, the OWWA and the local government will also be holding convocations.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “OFWs: Tagumpay sa Hamon ng Panahon, Kaagapay sa Pagsulong” (OFWs: Victory Amid the Challenge of the Times, Fellow Struggler for Progress).

In the Cordillera Administrative Region, OWWA-led advance celebrations were done. A medical-dental mission gave free service to the people of a barangay in a town in Benguet on June 4. Virtually all the major government units in CAR supported the mission.

Then on June 5, the OWWA led a tree-planting event at a vacant lot in front of the Government Service Insurance System building in Baguio City.

OFW Family Circles
This morning, at 9, also in Baguio, OWWA and its partners in the local government, along with nongovernment organizations and other private sector organizations, will hold a parade from the Baguio Convention Center up to SM City Baguio where the main program will be held at 10 a.m.

The program will be the occasion to recognize the chosen outstanding OFWs and the outstanding OFW Family Circles of the Cordillera region. There will be cultural presentations at the program. The atmosphere will be festive, as parlor games, entertainment numbers and raffles will reward OFWs and family members present.

Seminars and skills show at SM Supermalls
SM and OWWA have partnered to make today’s Migrant Workers Day a happy learning experience. Various government agencies and private sector groups will conduct seminars and skills training courses and shows at SM Supermalls for OFWs and members of their families.

At SM City Marilao in Bulacan, there will be a whole-day seminar series at the Event Center giving Global Pinoy Center members and other OFWs a chance to become instant members of Philhealth and attend an orientation about Philhealth benefits. Then the OFWs and family will learn new livelihood skills from the Marilao PESO (Public Employment Service Office). The skills to be introduced are hairstyling, flower arrangement, acupuncture and reflexology. Expert from the Department of Labor office in Bulacan province will teach “How to start a business” and how to move up from the laborer class to the entrepreneurial and business classes.

At SM Fairview, audiences will learn “Financial literacy for OFWs” from Joey Magtibay and “Entering the E-Loading Venture” from V-Mobile.

At SM North Edsa, an expert from the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprises Development will teach “Star-up Business for OFWs.” An expert on dealership, Jermel Zalameda, will teach “Dealership Business for OFWs,”

At SM Dasmariñas, Angelo Esquivel will teach OFWs how to “Venture into Franchising.”

At SM Bacoor, the teacher-speaker will be Ms. Lourdes Rivera. Her topic will be “Meat Processing Livelihood for OFWs and Balikbayans.”

SM Megamall will have three seminars. The first will be on the topic “Essentials of becoming a successful entrepreneur” to be taught by Mitch Ballesteros. Founder and CMO of Ex-link Corp. The second will be on “Successful Business Start-up” to be taught by Ricky de Vera, a business consultant. The third will be on “Eco-friendly Business Opportunities for OFWs” to be taught by Justin Mapile.

SM Mall of Asia will have Alvin Tabañag teaching “Basic Financial Management for OFWs” and George Macasero teaching “Basic Skills of Entrepreneurs.”

SM Taytay has two seminars. Raymond de Vera will teach “Entrepreneurship for OFWs” and Jenny Endaya
Will teach “Ready Business in Franchising.”

In SM Santa Rosa, Laguna, an expert from the Department of Agrarian Reform will teach “Investing in Agribusiness.”

Reintegrating OFWs
OFWs who have come home, or are planning to, have some funds to invest in business. The SM Group’s decision to make its supermalls the venue of important lessons and eye-opening lectures on entrepreneurship is a needful service to the nation and the returned OFWs.

It’s also a very good business decision.

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