A day of “endless fun” was experienced by more than 200 overseas Filipinos and their families who participated in the Migrant Fair in Cagayan on December 2, 2022 at the Cagayan Coliseum, Tuguegarao City.
The event was organized by the Inter-Agency Committee on the Celebration of the Month of Overseas Filipinos (IAC-MOF) headed by the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch and Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Department of Health, and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in partnership with the Provincial Government of Cagayan. Cagayan is the leading origin province of OFs and OFWs in the Cagayan Valley Region.
The Migrant Fair is a convergence activity at the local level of migrant serving agencies and organizations, which aim to honor and bring services closer to the migrants and their families.
The event was graced by Provincial Administrator Atty. Maria Rosario-Villaflor, representing Cagayan Governor Manuel N. Mamba, and Chief of Staff Atty. Renz Umambong representing Tuguegarao Mayor Maila Rosario Ting-Que. They thanked the OFWs and their families and hoped that migration will eventually become a choice and not a necessity for the people of Cagayan. That’s why the LGU is also working hard to provide the people with necessary jobs with decent wages and livelihood opportunities, including the plan of developing “Cagayan International Gateway”, so they won’t be forced to leave the country anymore. They highlighted that the LGU is the national government’s partner in advancing and promoting the welfare of OFWs.
IAC-MOF Chair Carmelita G. Nuqui of PMRW and co-Chair Usec. Abdulgani M. Macatoman of the CFO, DOH Regional Director Dr. Amelita M. Pangilinan and ARD Dr. Mar Wynn Bello also greeted and honored the OFs and the participants thru their respective video and actual messages.
Participating agencies which set up booth and provided frontline and consultation services and freebies, include CFO, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, DOH, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development, OWWA, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Pag-IBIG Home Development Mutual Fund, Social Security System, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and the Provincial Government. Participants were pampered with free hand and foot spa, manicure, pedicure, massage; given COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot, basic health services and laboratory tests; offered with vocational course scholarships, and free legal counseling; among others.
DTI also mounted a mini-trade exhibit, showcasing bags, local handicrafts, and food products of OFW families and returnees, cooperatives with OFW members, as well as indigenous people, seniors and inmates from Cagayan Valley.
To inspire OFW families to invest, former OFWs assisted by DTI and OWWA shared their success stories of reintegration. They include Ms. Susan T. Pagulayan (owner of Susan’s Bakeshop in Piat), Mr. Gabriel Agustin (owner of a restaurant and catering service in Baggao), Ms. Linda Gumiho (General Manager, Diadi OFW Multi-Purpose Cooperative), and Ms. Cristeta Ignacio (Manager, Quirino OFW Credit Cooperative).
OWWA also awarded checks for the Region 2 recipients of their financial assistance programs – “Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program”, “Tulong PUSO Program for OFWs”, and “Welfare Assistance Program”.
Participants were treated to cultural dance performances, and song numbers from Cagayan State University, CFO, and DOH.
And for the finale, raffle prizes – bags of rice, health kits, agency giveaways, and home appliances courtesy of IAC-MOF members – were given to lucky winners. It was indeed a fun and meaningful day for the bagong bayani of Cagayan and their families.
The event was hosted by Mr. Deejay Lumanog and Ms. Pamela Faye Perez of DOH and Ms. Jennifer Tanguilan of PhilHealth. It’s a tribute and early Christmas gift of the IAC-MOF for the migrants and their families in Cagayan.
The annual celebration of the MOF started with President Corazon Aquino issuing Proclamation No. 276 in 1988 which institutionalized the month-long celebration every December. This is in recognition of the significant contributions of overseas Filipinos to Philippine development and the restoration of Philippine democracy.