LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – A total of 1,985 active and returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) have already been assisted by the Pangasinan Migration and Development Council (PMDC) since its inception in 2014.
This was reported by the newly reconstituted council on its 4th Quarter recently at the Conference Room, Capitol Building here.
Provincial Employment Services Office (PESO) manager Alex Ferrer, who is the newly installed PMDC chairman, said that this is a result of the good leadership and support of Governor Amado “Pogi” I. Espino, III to the council as well as the cooperation among council members.
“It is good to have the governor’s full support… and have established good linkage among PMDC members for swift response,” he said.
Ferrer also relayed the OFWs’ feedback to their programs: “In return, our OFWs were grateful for the help they have received. Some of them have been admitted that without the PMDS’s intervention, they could have suffered longer or even have ended their lives.”
Through its flagship program Bantay Barangay, Tulong Hanapbuhay, PESO has enabled OFW mapping all over the province and organized them into the OFW family associations in the village and city or town levels and eventually the Pangasinan OFW Family Federation, Incorporated (POFFI).
To further sweep out elusive anti-illegal recruitment and human trafficking elements lurking in the province, the Anti-Illegal Recruitment/ Trafficking In Persons (AIRTIP) campaign was launched with massive information and dissemination drive of floating flyers and installing billboards in all 47 local government units in Pangasinan.
Monitoring of illegal recruitment and trafficking cases was intensified through the founding of a provincewide reporting system directly to prompt local police stations, prosecutors’ offices, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and other concerned agencies.
According to PMDC, reported illegal recruitment occurrences have been cut down from 74 in 2013 to just 32 for January-September 2016; reported human trafficking cases have been halved from 2 in 2014 to just 1 for January-September 2016.
Also conducted were series of Pre-Employment Orientation with AIRTIP seminars, which benefited 24,470 students, teachers, jobseekers for local & overseas employment, OFWs and their families, law enforcers and government employees in various locations in the province.
PESO has also spread out recruitment activities and entrepreneurial workshops to the towns and cities aside from its perennial job fairs at it office in Lingayen to be able to reach out to more of its clientele.
Ferrer said that one of PMDC’s major achievements is the creation of the Pangasinan OFWs and OFW Family Credit Cooperative (POOFCC), which would aid OFWs and their families achieve financial stability by helping them generate business opportunities.
During the meeting, the Commission of Filipino Overseas hailed the PMDC as one of the most functional of its kind in the Philippines and one of the only two most consistent councils in the country in implementing the quarterly mounting of the Mobile Pre-Departure Order Seminar for departing emigrants starting November last year.
Pending the agreement signing between the provincial government and the Department of Labor and Employment, PMDC is set to initiate the Bigasang Bayani platform that aims to cater discounted price on rice purchases for POFFI enrolled OFW families.
By Dexter A. See