Reintegration plan for Filipino expats

DUBAI - Officials of the Overseas Filipinos Worldnet (OFWNet) Foundation and OFW International Holdings, Inc., in cooperation with the Philippine Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE), presented its reintegration master plan for Overseas Filipinos at a seminar held at the Office of the Labour Attache in Dubai recently.

By Ramona Ruiz

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Published: Sun 4 May 2003, 12:39 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 10:58 PM

The event was part of the ongoing Middle East Roadshow 2003 conducted in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai and Kuwait.

Dr Chee Garcia, managing director of OFWNet Foundation, and Norman Gacula, chief operating officer of OFW International Holdings, Inc. presented the OFW reintegration programme.

OFWNet Holdings had earlier signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) with DOLE and the Technology Livelihood Resource Centre (TLRC) to promote and implement schemes aimed at reintegrating OFWs to the mainstream Philippine society.

The objectives of the OFW Reintegration Master plan is to provide clear direction for the overseas Filipinos' reintegration, even prior to getting employment abroad; heighten awareness of the benefits, as well as the consequences of working abroad; improve planning skills vis-ˆ-vis short and long-term goals, objectives and strategies; strengthen the importance of involving families in decision making; and emphasise the necessity of saving for the future.

The officials stated that the Overseas Filipinos is an important sector with their remittances amounting to $6.23 billion in 2001. Their remittances in 2002 recorded a 28 per cent increase, totalling $8 billion or 432 billion Philippine pesos. The total remittances are equivalent to 10 per cent of the country's gross national products of 3.2 trillion pesos.

Mr Gacula stressed that OFWNet does not assume that it can solve all the problems of the OFW sector or unite all the OFWs. "It is impossible to unite all Filipinos. We would be pleased if we could gather one percent of OFWs towards a common goal and vision," he said, adding that OFWNet and its reintegration master plan is an alternative that is being presented to overseas Filipinos who believe its vision, its goals and its objectives, including its strategies.

Dr Garcia, who explained and discussed the process of membership, said: "We do not want to create a monopoly. Those who would like to become members should be an OFW, a relative of an OFW or those who genuinely sympathise with OFWs and their causes."

Both officials stressed that reintegration of overseas Filipinos shall start prior to their actual reintegration through the help of family members and NGOs who can initiate the projects for and on behalf of the overseas Filipinos.

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