Overseas Filipino associations and their families together with the representatives of the
IAC-MOF during the Regional Migrant Fair held in Sorsogon.
Beyond the presence of over 400 overseas Filipinos and OFW families from the 14 municipalities of the province of Sorsogon, their delightfulness and gratefulness manifested after they were surprised and provided with an assortment of government services and information during the Regional Migrant Fair that was held at the Bibincahan Gymnasium, Sorsogon City on October 25, 2019.
Organized by the Inter-Agency Committee on the Celebration of the Month of Overseas Filipinos (IAC-MOF), led by the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch, Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with the Provincial Government of Sorsogon, the fair followed the kick-off event of this year’s MOF Celebration in Koronadal, South Cotobato last October 16.
Instituted in 1988 by virtue of Proclamation No. 276, the MOF is a month-long celebration every December as our nation’s way of recognizing all overseas Filipinos for their hard work and efforts, sacrifices and significant contributions to local and national development.
The Migrant Fair has the theme “OFs NGAYON, BALIK–PINAS BUKAS”, highlighting policy pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte of “making migration a choice rather than a necessity for every Filipino” and for bringing government services closer to migrants and their families.
The event was graced by Ms. Asia O. Lao, representing Sorsogon City Mayor Ma. Ester A. Hamor, Assistant Secretary Ameenah Fajardo of the Department of Trade and Industry, Dr. Gladys Escote of the Provincial DOH, and Mr. Rolando Añonuevo of the Sanguniang Panlalawigan of Sorsogon.
The migrant-serving agencies stressed the importance of universal healthcare for migrants, and that the government is implementing reintegration programs for them and their families, as well as investment opportunities that they could avail of in preparation for their return. CFO’s BaLinkBayan Program – Overseas Filipinos’ One Stop Online Portal for Diaspora Engagement was also promoted to the LGUs.
During the Fair, participants were treated to health and wellness activities, free basic medical check-up, free dental service, free vaccinations, medicines and vitamins, free food, entertainment, and raffle prizes.
Participants also consulted with migrant-serving agencies like the, DOH, DTI, Department of Labor and Employment, CFO, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Employees’ Compensation Commission, National Economic Development Authority, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Philippine Information Agency, International Organization for Migration, Migrant Forum in Asia, and Ayala Foundation, Inc.. Some also enrolled to become members of PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG, and Social Security System.
Part of the activity also include sharing of success stories by former OFWs and a mini trade fair showcasing products of successful OFW returnees/ families. Among the products exhibited by micro small enterprises were abaca bags and other native handcrafted products, sweet delicacies, snacks and souvenirs. MSMEs that participated in the trade fair were Sanig Crafts, Zaide’s Ent., 7A’s Food Delights, Monteon’s Hand, Ningning’s Food Products, Antes Enterprises, Ohbetz’ Arts and Crafts, Annie’s Hand, Rowena’s Food Products, Vicky’s Pili and Food Products, Jhayen Arts and Crafts, Bahi Enterprises and Delights Food Products.
The participants expressed their appreciation to the pre-MOF activity which was conducted in time of their month-long festival, “Kasanggayahan”. They added that this convergent activity of the IAC-MOF and the Provincial government of Sorsogon should be should be continued and be made a regular event in the province.
The Migrant Fair was hosted by Jose R. Hainto of the Provincial Government and Michelle Evangeline Suarez of IOM. It is part of the series of activities being organized at the local, national, and international levels by the IAC-MOF. The next Migrant Fair will be conducted in Palo, Leyte on November 11, 2019.