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Baldoz says reintegration program for Libya OFW repatriates ready and established

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Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said on Saturday the DOLE’s National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) is ready with appropriate programs for OFW returnees, particularly those who have arrived and will still arrive from the strife-torn Libya to ensure their smooth reintegration to the mainstream of Philippine society.

“Even before this crisis in Libya erupted, the NRCO has already established various reintegration programs for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs),” said the labor and employment chief, adding that as early as November last year President Benigno S. Aquino III has instructed the DOLE to set aside P1 billion for the reintegration program.

Baldoz earlier ordered the implementation of all reintegration programs and services to assist the distressed OFWs arriving from Libya and to mitigate the socio-economic effects of their dislocation on their families.

Last week, Secretary Baldoz ordered the immediate provision to the OFWs returning from Libya a P10,000 financial relief assistance to cushion the impact of employment and income displacement affecting them.

The labor chief bared that the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines, as well as the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII), have expressed their desire to hire OFW repatriates from Libya who match the available vacancies in their member-firms.

Meanwhile, the United Embassy in the Philippines will conduct next week an outreach program entitled, ‘America in 3-D’ at the SM City North EDSA simultaneous with a job fair to help fill up over 6,000 local vacancies in 33 American companies in various industries.

Likewise, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) will offer available productive opportunities in its member-companies to qualified applicants, and the DOLE on Monday will meet with ECCP executives to know the vacancies and other details.

To fast-track the posting of job vacancies of companies in the PhilJobNet, the government’s internet portal for job search and job matching, the DOLE has also allowed its regional offices, firms, and establishments to post these vacancies themselves.

“I have instructed DOLE regional directors and the Bureau of Local Employment to pinpoint and identify exactly what these jobs are in their respective regions so we can very quickly disseminate the information,” said Baldoz, adding that she wanted a specific jobs map to guide jobseekers.
In a press conference, the DOLE sought the help of the media in effectively disseminating the available programs and services for the benefit of the OFWs and their families nationwide.

“First and foremost, mindful of and sensitive to their plight and the ordeal they experienced in Libya, we give them space to reunite and be with their families and loved ones once they’re home,” Nicon Fameronag, Labor Communications Director, had said.

Explaining the first level of assistance to the OFWs from Libya, Fameronag said the NRCO is conducting psycho-social counseling to enable the OFWs express their feelings and emotions. The NRCO is also profiling them to determine their specific needs, such as whether they still would want to be re-deployed overseas, or to work locally.

“If their skills do not match the opportunities, the NRCO will give them the option to train or retool and upgrade their skills, or if they want to remain at home, avail of livelihood and entrepreneurial assistance,” said Fameronag.

Administrator Carmelita S. Dimzon of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Director Vivian Tornea, who heads the OWWA-supervised NRCO, said the assistance programs available to the arriving OFWs from Libya and their families include the following:

* Immediate job search assistance for local or overseas employment;

* Entrepreneurship/micro-enterprise development assistance for business capital or starter kits, to obtain business loans and other credit facilities, and for technology and product development and marketing;

* As appropriate, to improve the chances for job-skills matching, provision of training and capability-building assistance including skills development, retooling and upgrading, financial literacy and management, and entrepreneurship training;

* Counseling on values formation, family support, and the available productive options including wage employment, livelihood, business or entrepreneurial possibilities.

The labor communications chief made it clear that these programs are over and above of the earlier onsite assistance provided by the teams of DOLE labor attaches and welfare offices, working round-the-clock with their Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) counterparts in the crisis zones, to register, relocate, shelter and accommodate, and evacuate the OFWs to safe and secure havens outside of Libya. (PNA)




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