Owwa 7 sets up help desks in 5 Cebu towns, cities

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THE Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Central Visayas (Owwa 7) has signed agreements for the setting up of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) help desks in five towns and cities in Cebu.

This would enable the Owwa to bring its programs and services closer to the OFWs and their families, the agency announced on its Facebook page.

Last Oct. 25, 2021 the Owwa 7 Director Martel Dasayon signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura for the installation of an OFW help desk in the northern Cebu town.

Last Oct. 20, the Owwa 7 also inked a MOA with Carcar City Mayor Mercedita Apura and Minglanilla Mayor Elanito Peña for the same purpose, while the agency did the same with Consolacion Mayor Joannes Alegado in July, and with Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy in June.

This year, Owwa 7 officials have also discussed the establishment of an OFW help desk in other local government units, particularly Santa Fe town and Bogo City in northern Cebu and Aloguinsan in western Cebu.

As of August 2020, Aloguinsan had more than 2,000 Owwa-member OFWs, the Owwa 7 said.

In July, Barili Mayor Julieto Flores welcomed the initiative of having an OFW help desk in his town, which also has over 2,000 overseas Filipino workers.

The OFW help desks serve as conduits of the agency in delivering its programs and services, which include livelihood grants and scholarship programs.

During last month’s MOA signing for the help desk with Daanbantayan, educational assistance was released to nine beneficiaries of the town under Owwa’s Educational Assistance through Scholarship in Emergencies (Project Ease) and OFW Dependent Scholarship Program.

Two days later, the agency provided calamity assistance to 1,243 OFWs living in areas declared under a State of Calamity in the town who had been affected by typhoon Ursula in 2019.

During Carcar and Minglanilla’s MOA signing with Owwa 7 also in October, beneficiaries of the city also received educational and livelihood assistance under the agency’s Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Program and Project Ease.

Owwa is an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) tasked to protect and promote the welfare of OFWs and their dependents.

Its programs include repatriation, health and life insurance, and worker assistance for settling work-related disputes and fraud, education and training, reintegration programs, pre-departure loans, family assistance loans for emergency purposes, and livelihood loans to improve access to entrepreneurial development opportunities on the OFWs’ return.

Last April, the Dole said the government had repatriated more than half a million OFWs since the Covid-19 pandemic erupted in 2020.

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