PRESS RELEASE, Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration, June 9, 2011
Thousands of OFWs and their families trooped the spacious Function Room 3 of the SMX Convention Center in celebration of the 1st National Congress of OFWs and Families held June 7th, Tuesday in Pasay City. This event is in celebration of the Migrant Workers Day.
Top government officials in the persons of Akabayan Rep. Walden Bello and Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan were there to share in the momentous occasion for the OFWs.
OWWA Administrator Carmelita S. Dimzon gave the welcome remarks, the keynote address of President Benigno Aquino III was delivered by DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz. Also mentioned in the speech read by Sec. Baldoz were the other projects launched earlier by the DOLE, OWWA and the NRCO in direct assistance to the overseas workers and their families e.g. “Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay!” etc.
The reading of the Manifesto was led by Ms. Virgencita Lagunsay, a representative from the OFW Family Circles (OFC). The Manifesto was a concerted effort of the OWWA Regional Welfares Offices together with the OFWs, their families and other concerned public and private organizations. Included in the Manifesto were the collected issues and concerns relevant to the present conditions of OFW returnees, Pinoy workers abroad, and their families in the country.
Highlighting the National Congress was the Presentation of Cheques to the initial twelve availees of the 2 BILLION PESOS OFW REINTEGRATION PROGRAM. The total amount of cheques distributed was P 8.3 million. This nationwide financial assistance program is a joint venture of the DOLE, OWWA, NRCO, the Landbank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines. The loan assistance offers a low-interest annual rate of 7.5% with a flexible payment scheme maximum of 7 years to pay. This OFW reintegration program was formulated to do away with conduit banks that may burden a borrower of high administrative costs.
A symposium on talks on business opportunities and concise guidelines on the reintegration program was also presented to the audience. Chinkee Tan, a known TV personality and wealth coach, disclosed the important how to’s on recognizing and grabbing possible business opportunities.
A press conference with the media was held led by DOLE Secretary Baldoz and she joined by DOLE Usec. Danilo P. Cruz, OWWA Adminstrator Dimzon and NRCO Director Vivian Tornea. The initial recipients of the 2 Billion Pesos OFW Reintegration Program were also interviewed by the media.
Exhibits of the products and services by the OFWs and OFCs were also showcased. Regional exhibitors from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao proudly offered their items and services on this one-day event. Event and corporate partners Globe Telecom, SM Super Malls and BDO-Unibank also had booths giving freebies to the OFWs and their families. This part of the national event was open to the public.
Capping the event was a mini-concert by the well known 70’s band Hotdog.
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