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TFC partners with OWWA on ensuring welfare of OFWs, families

MANILA - ABS-CBN's global television network The Filipino Channel (TFC) on Monday renewed its partnership with the OWWA to further protect the welfare of OFWs and their families.


The partnership, which started in 2013, focuses on the Pre-Departure Registration and Orientation Seminars (PDOS), which orients OFWs with the skills relevant to their occupation abroad.


TFC Managing Director Ailene Averion said that she is proud to renew ties with OWWA and excited for the future projects that they will implement together.


"TFC's goal is to keep our Kapamilyas abroad continuously connected with their loved ones here in the Philippines," she said. "We, in TFC, make sure that we will assist in realizing the agency's vision. It is, after all, our common goal that brought us here together."

OWWA Administrator Calzado after an interview with


Meanwhile, OWWA administrator Rebecca Calzado said that they want to explore different communication media through TFC.


"In this age of technology, communication has never been that fast and modernized. And more and more OFWs are getting technology savvy and we want to keep up to their needs," she said. "With TFC, we are exploring more communication platforms to reach more OFWs."


She also added that this public-private partnership will further promote and protect the welfare of overseas Filipinos, especially with ABS-CBN's mission, which is to serve the Filipinos worldwide.


In an interview with, Calzado said OWWA decided to renew the partnership with TFC because of the big success of PDOS.


"Ito ay isang renewal, so nakita namin kung ano ang naging tulong ng TFC doon sa Pre Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS)," she said. "Ngayon natutuwa kami, kasi hindi na lang natin ililimita itong partnership doon sa bago umalis ang OFW, kundi habang nandoon siya at pati na rin sa pagbalik niya."


According to Calzado, they will provide stage-by-stage assistance to Filipinos who want to work or migrate in another country. She also emphasized how TFC's programs helped OFW in getting news updates from their homeland.


"Siyempre 'yong TFC, popular 'yan sa ating mga OFW sa ibang bansa. So 'yong mga balita pati na 'yong mga programa ng TFC na OFW-oriented, 'yon ang mga naging projects sa ilalim ng agreement na ito," she said. "It's about maintaining communication lines open and maximizing them via the TFC. With TFC, we are now able to reach out to the OFWs and their families."

ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs head Ging Reyes (middle) together with officers from OWWA and TFC


ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs head Ging Reyes, who worked as news bureau chief in North America for eight years, shared her experience as a Filipino working in a foreign land.


"I started my work as a bureau chief all by my self. I also felt the homesickness, the loneliness of an OFW. So, I can related to the plight of the OFs and the OFWs because I experienced being away from the country, remitting to my children back home, filling up balikbayan boxes to send home," she recalled.


Reyes likened TFC to a bridge that connects OFWs to their homeland.


"TFC became a connection to the homeland for many Filipinos abroad. I would be very surprised when I visit the home of a Filipino Veteran or a worker, and they would be very familiar with ABS-CBN through The Filipino Channel. Many of them would turn off their television sets and tune in to TFC." she recalled. "Ang sabi nila, kapag nanunuood sila ng TFC, nababawasan 'yong lungkot nila."


Reyes added that TFC helps in calming down OFWs in times when calamities and crises hit the Philippines.


"We give them information. And at the same time, we give them entertainment programs that help them ease the pain of being away from their families, from their towns, and the country," she said.


"Sa puso ng bawat tao ay nakaukit ang sinilangang bayan.No matter where you're from, if you leave your home country and go to another country to settle down and make a living, you would always feel that longing to be back home, that's what TFC provides."


With this renewed partnership, TFC and OWWA aim for a stronger tie-up in ensuring the welfare of Filipinos abroad and their families.


The partnership was sealed by a music video entitled "Abot Kamay." Performed by "Your Face Sounds Familiar" grand finalist KZ Tandingan, the song was written and composed by renowned composer Vehnee Saturno.

(L-R) RFO Lawrence Reyes, Global CRM Head Allie Dela Cruz, TFC Managing Director Ailene Averion, OWWA Administrator Rebecca Calzado, Director Carmelina Velasquez, and Director Albert Valenciano


OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado expressed her heartfelt thanks to Kentz Engineers and Constructors, the employer of the 26 OFWs who were involved in a road mishap along Haradh Road, Hawiyah, south of Al Hufuf in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, last 16 November 2015. It was reported that thirteen (13) OFWs perished, while the rest were injured and admitted at nearby hospitals.


“We, at OWWA, are grateful for the continuous assistance extended by Kentz Engineers and Constructors to the victims of the road accident and for taking good care of the OFWs amidst this misfortune.  The benefits given by the company to the family of the workers may not totally compensate their loss of a loved one, but it will somehow ease their financial burden as they have lost their main provider.” Administrator Calzado said.


OWWA, through its welfare officer in Saudi Arabia, regularly monitored the situation of the workers and constantly coordinated with the employer. Kentz informed OWWA, that they will start the repatriation of human remains by the end of the week and will shoulder the repatriation costs. Similarly, financial assistance was given to the families and the company is also planning to set up its own education trust fund to augment the families’ needs, particularly the schooling of their children.


As to the 13 injured OFWs, two (2) are still recuperating at the hospital. Other workers have been discharged and are being closely monitored through regular follow up check-ups. The company is also processing the papers of one of the injured worker’s wife for a compassionate visit.


OWWA, on the other hand, will provide airport assistance upon the arrival of the human remains on top of the Death and Burial Assistance and Education and Livelihood Assistance Program, benefits due to the next-of-kin. Moreover, OWWA will continue to monitor the condition of the OFWs and extend the necessary assistance to their families.


Admin Calzado promoted the "One-Stop Processing Center" where vacationing OFWs can renew their OECs in various locations.

OWWA asks OFWs to be Vigilant to counter "laglag-bala" fiasco

OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado expressed concern over the recent events where bullets are reportedly found in the luggage of OFWs. With the coming of holiday season, it would spread worry among those who will be coming home for their vacation.  It has been said that numerous passengers, a number of whom are OFWs, have been apprehended when bullets were allegedly found in their baggage.  Many denied these allegations and insisted they were victims of extortion.


"It is truly sad that some of our OFWs have been accused of possessing these illegal items.  I am confident that the assigned authority will deal with this concern soon so as to relieve the tensions in our airports.  In the meantime, I encourage all OFWs to be extra vigilant especially with their luggage.  They should never leave their baggage alone, or out of their sight.  Always make sure that they carry their luggage at all times and take all the necessary precautions to safeguard your belongings,” Administrator Calzado said.


Acting upon the instructions of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Administrator Calzado alerted the OWWA personnel particularly those assigned at the airport to assist OFWs coming in and going out of the country. OWWA is also ready to provide temporary shelter to OFWs and could facilitate communication with their next-of-kin in case untoward incident happens.

OWWA Offers Assistance To OFW Ortinez

On October 25th, 2015, OFW Gloria Ortinez landed on NAIA from Laoag Airport.  She was supposed to catch her connecting flight to Hong Kong where she has been working for more than twelve years.  Unfortunately, her attention was called as her luggage passed through the x-ray machine.  An officer informed her that a bullet was discovered in her luggage.   Ortinez vehemently denied that she was carrying a bullet since, as a veteran OFW, she knows the usual procedures in the airports.  She was apprehended and investigated on her case.


Gloria Ortinez is a mother of two and she hailed from Ilocos Sur.  She is the primary breadwinner of her family.


Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado then ordered the OWWA Regional Office to visit her family.  They narrated her ordeal to the Team.  Although she was released temporarily, she is still under investigation.  Her legal counsel is scheduled to visit the Head Office in Manila to further discuss her case.  Her family also expressed their interest to contact OWWA in case they will need additional assistance.


In addition, OWWA Welfare Officer at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Hong Kong is continuously trying to reach the employer to ensure worker’s term of employment.


Upon instructions of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Administrator Calzado alerted the OWWA personnel particularly those assigned at the airport to assist OFWs coming in and going out of the country. The Labor and Employment Chief also ordered OWWA to make available the provisions for the temporary shelter, communication and transportation facilities for the OFW families and other incidental services if needed.


Administrator Calzado   likewise urges our kababayans to be extra vigilant with their belongings at the airport.  They must always keep their baggage with them at all times and carefully watch them as they go through the x-ray machines.  In the event they will be questioned, they must always ask for an airport authority and a witness before bags are examined.


OWWA has alerted its teams in all three NAIA terminals, to provide assistance in the unlikely event that OFWs will encounter the "laglag-bala" concern.

OWWA Honored Sons and Daughters of OWWA Members

OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado conferred certificates of recognition to 20 OWWA scholars with Latin honors and four (4) past graduates who were among the topnotchers in government licensure examinations. The simple ceremony was held on October 29, 2015 at the OWWA Multi-purpose Hall. The achievers were sons and daughters of active OWWA members and beneficiaries of the agency’s various scholarship programs.


Hubaib Mundas Midtemeg from ARMM, who placed 9th in the 2015 Social Work Licensure Exam, led the opening prayer. Accompanied by his mother, the registered social worker is now one of the agency’s newest recruits to its roster of dedicated public servants.


On the other hand,  Ivy Elaine Aguilar Cadalzo, who ranked number 1  in the 2014 Geodetic Engineer Licensure Exam, reminisced her school days as an  OWWA scholar. She mentioned that the agency’s educational assistance was a big help to her OFW father who works in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  The top 1 geodetic engineer’s father who just arrived recently from Saudi Arabia was with her during the event.  Ivy continued that she appreciated the people who assisted her during her studies, molded and guided her until she finished her course.  She is now connected with UP, as an associate Geodetic Engineer. She reminded other OWWA co- scholars to make friends with their colleagues and savor the time spent with each other. 


During her inspirational message, Administrator Calzado congratulated not only the honorees but also the OFW parents who served as the inspiration and motivation of these young achievers. 


“For this year, we have a total of 29 awardees- 25 with Latin honors and 4 board top rankers.  However, some of them were not able to make it due to their hectic schedules in their jobs.  Like their parents and the universities and colleges where they graduated, OWWA is equally proud to announce that most of our scholars are now gainfully employed. It is truly an additional feat for OWWA members to reckon with. Today is their day,” the OWWA Chief remarked. Nonetheless, the names of those scholars who did not make it to the recognition were still mentioned in this year’s honor roll.


Administrator Calzado added that as part of giving importance to the achievements of the beneficiaries of the agency’s educational programs, scholars, from the Visayas and Mindanao, along with their parents and OWWA regional directors, arrived via plane in Manila. While in Manila, they were accommodated with board, lodging and food before flying back to their respective provinces. Aside from the certificate of recognition, all scholars present during the occasion were also given simple tokens to serve as their souvenirs to a job ‘well done’.


According to the OWWA Chief, through the years, OWWA scholars continued to be competitive in their respective field of specialization as they consistently made it to the top. Thus, from 2010 to 2015, different batch of OWWA scholarship beneficiaries garnered the following medal of awards for excellence in their studies; 2 in 2010; 28 in 2011; 29 in 2012; 29 in 2013; 40 in 2014, and 29 in 2015.


“Ang nakakatuwa pa rito, hindi lamang mga laude kung hindi may na-produce po tayong nagkamit ng medalya ng pagka -Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude at  sa taong ito,  kabilang sa ating  pinarangalan ay ang mga Board topnotchers ng iba’t ibang kurso,” the OWWA head said.


“OWWA is equally proud to those scholars who, through OWWA scholarship program, are able to make it big in the international academic arena like Don Stanley who is now enrolled at the West Point Academy where one of our Presidents graduated. This indeed is a good news to all OFWs, especially the recipients of the educational assistance as they pose challenge to the next batch of OWWA scholars”, Administrator Calzado enthused.


OWWA offers different scholarship programs to one dependent of OWWA members who are in active status or whose OWWA contribution is updated. OWWA membership is valid for two years.


During the press briefing, Administrator Calzado vowed to bring the matter pertaining to the policy on the allowances and benefits extended to the different categories of the agency’s to the OWWA Board of Trustees for review. OWWA offers 4-5 year courses leading to baccalaureate degree that include Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP), OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (ODSP) and the Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP).


The complete list of this year’s honorees is as follows:


Board topnotchers:

Ivy Elaine Aguilar Cadalzo; ranked 1st in the 2014 Geodetic Engineering  Licensure Exam,  NCR; Mary Nheza Acordon, 4th placer, 2014 Aeronautical Engineering Licensure Exam; Region 3; Hubaib Mundas Midtemeg, 9th placer,  2015 Social Worker Licensure Exam, ARMM, and Henmark S. Pichay, 9th placer, 2013 Civil Engineering Licensure Exam.


Early in 2013, OWWA conferred the award to two top placers in the Electrical Engineering Licensure Exams who placed 5th and 6th place, respectively. Both are from the Bicol region.


With Latin honors:

From NCR -Ma. Arizza R. Ferreras, Magna Cum Laude; Rolibeth Arielle R. Miranda, Magna Cum Laude; Carl Raymund P. Salazar, Magna Cum Laude; Dianne Mae F. Agra, Cum Laude; John Eris B. Alvarez, Cum Laude;  Anne Sharmaine P. Ochoa, Cum Laude; Donita Rose M. Custodio, Cum Laude; Earie Randolf R. Bunao, Cum Laude; Julian A. Santos, Cum Laude; Amparo S. Belgera, Cum Laude.

Region 3- Jean Claudette L. Galvez, Cum Laude; Marco B. Paulino, Magna Cum Laude; Renz Q. Garcia, Cum Laude; Vanessa Angelli P. Paray, Cum Laude

Region 4-A- Mike Rendell B. Pisuena, Cum Laude

Region 5- Jerome D. Balanoyos, Magna Cum Laude; Angelica O. Cordez. Cum Laude; Menlyn N. Bautista, Cum Laude.

Region 6-  Esa Seal L. Allisa, Cum Laude; Andrean May S. Nepomuceno, with honors.

Region 7- Serc Czione P. Labus, Cum Laude; Markiedyl G. Agnas, Cum Laude; Neil Amor D. Balaba, Cum Laude.

Region 10- Mary Grace T. Sacal, Cum Laude

Region 11- Yvonne Reina P. Totesora, Cum Laude.

OWWA - One of the DOLE Agencies Recognized By the President as ISO-Certified

The Department of Labor and Employment presented to President Benigno S. Aquino the ISO 9001:2008 Certification of 33 of DOLE’s regional offices, services, bureaus, and attached agencies.  It was showcased during the 15th National Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Congress at the PICC last 26 October 2015.


OWWA was one of the agencies that were recognized together with the Employees Compensation Commission, National Conciliation and Mediation Board, National Labor Relations Commission, National Maritime Polytechnic, Occupational Safety and Health Center, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, among others.


OWWA received its certification last May 2014.  ISO 9001:2008 specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS) that is applicable as an internal framework within an organization.  It aims to meet customer requirements and ensure the delivery of services to its internal and external clients.


Five (5) of the OWWA Core Processes and eleven (11) support processes are ISO-certified.   The Core Processes are: Repatriation and Post-Repatriation; Membership Verification and Certification; Death and Burial Benefit; the Arabic Language and Training for Household Service Workers or HSWs and the Education for Development Scholarship Program.


“To have hurdled the ISO certification is a milestone for the Department.  With ISO, we also eliminate ‘room for discretion’, thereby curbing corruption, fast track and enhance public service delivery, and institute continual improvement in the DOLE operations,” said Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz.


The ISO Certification was the result of all the hard work and dedication of the OWWA family, as the process of certification is a long and tedious journey.  With its certification, OWWA can assure its client-OFWs of quality service and its unwavering commitment.

Baldoz urges OFWs to be alert with their luggage to avoid 'tanim-bala' scheme

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said there is an anti-dote to the ‘tanim-bala’ incidents reported to be happening at the country’s airports: passenger vigilance.


“I urge airline passengers, OFWs particularly, to be alert, careful, and vigilant with regards their luggage. They should hold on to their luggage, or be very close, never away from these, while these are being checked, and report any suspicious activity or movement of airport personnel handling their luggage,” she said.


“Don’t leave your luggage. Don’t keep them away from your view. Better still, inventory the contents of your luggage before you leave for the airport and keep this inventory with you. Show them to the authorities if necessary before they check or screen your luggage, “she added.


The labor and employment chief expressed disappointment that most of the victims of the “tanim-bala” schemes are OFWs, saying these incidents could saw fear among OFWs, especially those planning to come home for a vacation in the coming holidays.


Because of these, she instructed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration which has physical presence at the Country’s airports to be vigilant also and assist OFWs exiting and entering the country. 


Announcement from HRDS Korea

OWWA Administrator meets with representatives from HRD Korea - EPS Center in the Philippines

OWWA Administrator meets with representatives from HRD Korea - EPS Center in the Philippines


With Director Im Jong Jin, Mr. Mike Cho, Ms. Chanel Flora and POEA's Myrna Ricafort