The provision of basic services and guaranteed social protection at countries of destination mitigated the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).,At the third Roundtable event of the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), Labor and Employment OIC-Assistant Secretary Alice Q. Visperas said that despite the pandemic putting to test the capacity and flexibility of every member-state to provide consular services to their respective migrant workers in transit and on-site, the Philippines remained steadfast in its commitment to uphold rights and welfare of Filipino migrant workers.,“Formal and informal Outreach programs of Embassies, Consulates, and Missions together with the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) to areas outside of their jurisdiction had been in place to accord services to workers who cannot afford to leave their workplace were still mounted, either virtually or in person,” Assistant Secretary Visperas said in the roundtable event.,“The Philippines optimized social media platforms, such as Facebook and youtube as well as its 24/7 hotlines to address the immediate needs of OFWs,” she added.,Considered as the Philippines’ modern-day heroes due to the significant contribution to its economy through their remittances, Assistant Secretary Visperas shared that different government programs and initiatives, primarily on monetary and financial support, have been undertaken to support financial inclusion and retool OFWs with sound financial intelligence.,“In partnership with the private sector, the government created the program dubbed as PiTaKa or “Pinansyal na Talino at Kaalaman,” which aims to equip OFWs with the ability to better manage their remittances, get out of debt, set aside savings or make prudent investments, to prepare for a better life when they return home to the Philippines,” the labor official said.,“The Overseas Filipino Bank has been established not only to provide financial products and services tailored to the requirements of the OFWS, but to ensure the delivery of quality and efficient remittance services,” as she further explained on the initiatives as part of the Duterte administration’s legacy.,Assistant Secretary Visperas also shared to the state-parties, international organizations, and trade and labor unions present in the roundtable event the importance of constant engagements with migrant communities abroad to ensure that key services are being delivered by the government.,“The Philippines also puts premium on meaningful engagement with and direct participation of Filipino Communities in countries of destinations and OFW Family Circles, consequently resulting in the prompt delivery of services to migrant workers,” Assistant Secretary Visperas shared.,The DOLE official also said that channels of the Filipino Diaspora, such as the Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino (LINKAPIL) program and the BaLinkBayan portal, have facilitated and streamlined livelihood and entrepreneurial assistance, education, health, and opportunities on investment and businesses.,Assistant Secretary Visperas underscored that the creation of social protection and safety nets mechanisms have been done by the government, even before the pandemic and its adoption of the GCM in 2018.,The third roundtable event centered on specific objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), namely: consular protection, access to basic services, inclusion and social cohesion, migrant and diaspora contributions, remittances, and social protection,The IMRF is the primary intergovernmental global platform to discuss and share progress on the implementation of all aspects of the GCM with the participation of all relevant stakeholders.
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