Gov. Hilario P. Davide III was elated after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) chose the Capitol as its home for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) help desk, which will open soon.
The Provincial Government sealed its partnership with DOLE and OWWA after signing a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Davide representing the Province and DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III on behalf of the national agencies.
“Knowing that Cebu is home to thousands of OFWs most of them seafarers, setting up a help desk here in the Capitol will be of great help to them and their families,” Davide said.
The governor said the program has his full support since it will make the government services more accessible to the OFWs.
Also present during the MOA signing were Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, 7th district Representative Peter John Calderon, OWWA deputy Secretary Josefino Torres, as well as some Provincial Board members, including Christopher Baricuatro, Yolanda Daan, Glenn Bercede, Thadeo “Jonkie” Ouano, Sun Shimura and Earl Tidy Oyas.
Establishing help desks in local government units (LGUs) around the country is an initiative of Angkla party-list Representative Jesulito Manalo, chairman of the House committee on Overseas Workers.
This year, President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has allocated P1 billion for the promotion of the OFW’s welfare.
Davide recalled that Representative Manalo approached him last year and broached the idea of setting up a help desk inside the Capitol, which the governor said, he immediately agreed to.
Bello, for his part, thanked Davide and the Capitol for the assistance.
Under the agreement, the Capitol will provide space for the OFW help desk, as well as personnel and other support services as deemed necessary.
The Province is also tasked to coordinate with LGUs in establishing a database or in the mapping of OFWs and their families in the barangay, municipal and city levels, and assisting in the provision of appropriate assistance to their families.
Even before the creation of a help desk, the Provincial Government, through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, has already been extending financial assistance to repatriated Cebuano OFWs who were retrenched from work.
Leaders of various OFW organizations mostly seafarers also attended the ceremony.