The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will be holding the First National Congress of OFWs and Their Families on June 7, 2011, from 8am to 5pm, at the SMX Convention Hall, Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
Every June 7 of each year, dubbed as Migrant Workers Day, is a marked date for Filipino migrant workers and is traditionally celebrated as Araw ng Pasasalamat. This year, however, the OWWA thought of convening the migrant workers sector through a national congress as a better way to commemorate the day.
The convention will gather representatives of stakeholders of the migrant workers sector all over the country. Aside from the overseas Filipino workers (both land-based and sea-based) and dependents of OFWs (otherwise known as OFW Family Circles), other invited groups are representatives of the displaced OFWs and current OWWA scholars.
The day-long event will have livelihood fairs, booths and symposium, and will be highlighted by the presentation of a manifesto drafted by the OFW Family Circles to His Excellency President Benigno Aquino III who will grace the affair as the keynote speaker. Other expected personalities are Sec. Rosalinda D. Baldoz of the Labor department, Administrator Carmelita S. Dimzon of OWWA, and regional officers.
The manifesto, which embodies the primary issues and concerns affecting the migrant workers and their families, was a product of a series of workshop/consultations conducted in all the regions of the country with OFCs as main participants. Varied issues ranging from employer abuse, contract substitution/alteration, and a sustainable and realistic reintegration/rehabilitation program for OFWs and kins were among the key points culled from the consultations. Another timely suggestion that came out during the workshops was to push for a bilateral agreement between the Philippine government and the receiving countries to lessen, if not eradicate, employer abuse and inhumane treatment to migrant workers. In particular, the countries being referred to are in Middle East, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and UAE.
Another main feature of the convention, the launching of the Two Billion Reintegration Support Fund for OFWs will be explained further through a symposium to be held in the afternoon. Wealth coach and comedian Chinkee Tan will lecture on finance management.