The Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation (SERDEF) presented the revised draft of Dutybearers’ Handbook on Reintegration of OFWs during the Validation Writeshop held at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga on July 12. SERDEF is the author of the Handbook to be published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) of the United Nations.
This is the second Writeshop organized by the IOM in collaboration with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO). The series of Writeshops was aimed at reviewing and validating the contents of the Handbook by the concerned stakeholders in migration and development in the country.
“The Handbook is supposed to help reintegration counsellors, or reintegration officers, and other duty bearers who matter to reintegration advisory. The Handbook needs to contain, first and foremost, a directory of institutions [that] provide reintegration-related services,” said Mr. Ricardo Casco, IOM National Programme Officer on labor migration.
The publication of the Handbook has been conceived as one of the outputs of the national project on Enhancing the Reintegration Program for Overseas Filipino Workers (ERPO). With support from the IOM and under the leadership of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the ERPO project aims to contribute to efforts in enhancing the socio-economic reintegration program of the Philippine Government for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Specifically, it will serve as a resource material that could guide duty bearers and Reintegration Counsellors on the “what’s” and “how to’s” on the social and economic reintegration of OFWs.
Mr. Casco noted that “Although [the Handbook] is a living document, we have to make sure that it will not be stale in the wink of an eye. We need to make sure that whatever we do, it will have a shelf life of at least four years.”
The content of the Handbook was drawn from the results of a series of regional stakeholders’ consultations conducted in Metro Manila, Pampanga, Cebu and Davao. Additionally, the results of the survey of government and non-government agencies and organizations providing services and implementing programs for reintegration comprise the Handbook content.
Participants in the first writeshop held on February 1-2, 2018 were respondents in the survey as well as government organizations involved in the implementation of the ERPO project. Their insights and views were taken into account in the revised draft of the Handbook.
During the second writeshop, the following institutions/offices were represented: Bureau of Local Employment, City Government of Antipolo; Department of Labor and Employment-Institute of Labor Studies; Department of Trade and Industry, Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines; Landbank of the Philippines; International Organization for Migration; National Reintegration Center for OFWs; Overseas Workers Welfare Administration; Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, City Government of Antipolo, PESO Office; Provincial Government of Cavite; Social Security System; and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Being a general guide, the Handbook is a reference material on how reintegration officer/counsellor may handle his/her task so as to steer OFWs towards productive and sustainable reintegration.
“I hope all of you learn from the process [of validation] as we visualize the training that we will do afterwards because this will be a key reference to the training that we need to do for reintegration counsellors… This particular circle of institutions involved here could be the core institutions in order to champion the cause of reintegration, and in the future, for reintegration counsellors’ training,” Mr. Casco told participants.
The expected main users of the Handbook are the duty bearers at the local level such as the LGUs where reintegration programs and services are provided on the ground to the OFWs in the community. Aside from the LGUs, other agencies and organizations that are in the forefront of implementing reintegration policies and initiatives in the country will find the Handbook useful. These include NGOs, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and faith-based organizations, and private corporations implementing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, among others.
The SERDEF team which prepared the Handbook is composed of Ms. Serenidad F. Lavador as Project Manager, and Dr. Herminia R. Fajardo, Dr. Paz H. Diaz, Prof. Jose P. Tabbada, Ms. Angelita Resurreccion, as writers. Mr. Antonio Maghirang is included in the team as project researcher. — Leda Adelina Beltran