To continuously encourage the Filipino-European youth to strengthen their ties with the Motherland and the other members of the Filipino diaspora around the globe, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), in coordination with the European Network of Filipino Diaspora (ENFiD) and Ugnayang Bayan sa Switzerland (UBS), successfully conducted its virtual Ugnayan sa Kabataan sa Europe program via Zoom and Facebook Live on 04 December 2021, 5:00PM- 8:00PM PST / 10:00AM – 12:30PM CET.

According to the CFO’s Compendium of Statistics on International Migration, which features the yearly stock estimates of overseas Filipinos, Europe, with almost 93,000 registered Filipino emigrants from 2005-2018, has become one of the target destinations of Filipinos, primarily due to the various opportunities it offers – from education to employment, to the quality and state of living. It is no wonder why a lot of Filipinos already managed to settle there, i.e.,  to continue making the most out of the socio-economic opportunities in the region.

Due to the limitations in face-to-face engagement imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CFO endeavored to continue engaging with Filipinos overseas as part of its mandate. As a result, this program was graced and participated in by several Filipino-European community leaders and youth advocates across the Philippines and the countries in Europe.

The program was officially opened by the CFO’s Secretary and Chairperson Francisco “Nick” P. Acosta who extended his appreciation and delight to the Filipino community leaders and youth participants of the Ugnayan webinar. During his welcome remarks, he also briefly went over the efforts and initiatives of the Commission in ensuring that the connection between the overseas Filipino youth and the Philippines remains thriving amid the pandemic.

CFO Chairperson and Secretary Francisco Acosta during his opening remarks

In his message, ENFID’s Chairperson of the Committees on Youth & Human Rights and Ugnayang Bayan sa Switzerland Mr. Morse Flores emphasized that providing the Filipino youth a platform to showcase their remarkable role as inventive and creative leaders will make them accountable for their actions as youth advocates of their local communities and organizations overseas. He also highlighted that advocating the empowerment of the Filipino youth and engaging their meaningful participation and partnership by continuously building their capacity is essential in helping them to become effective leaders of the Filipino-European society.

YENFiD’s and Ugnayang Bayan sa Switzerland Mr. Morse Flores delivering his message

Local speakers included the CFO’s Ms. Princess Mayumi Kaye Peralta who gave an overview of the Commission’s Youth Leaders in the Diaspora (YouLeaD) Program; CFO Director for Migrant Integration and Education Ivy Miravalles who discussed the issues and cases of human trafficking, which saw a spike in its numbers during the pandemic; CFO Director for Project Management Marita del Rosario-Apattad who encouraged our overseas Filipinos and youth from Europe to reconnect with the Philippines through the Commission’s various projects and programs such as the Lingkod sa Kapwa sa Pilipino (LinKaPil), which aims to help underprivileged communities in the Philippines through philanthropic donations and financial aid; and CFO’s OIC for Policy, Planning and Research Mr. Rodrigo Garcia Jr. who elaborated on several projects and initiatives such as the Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (PAFIOO), Migration Advocacy and Media (MAM) awards, Himigrasyon, and the Centenarian Awards and Incentives, which are some of the Philippine government’s programs for assistance to overseas Filipinos being offered through the Commission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CFO officers discussing several government programs for assistance to overseas Filipinos being offered through the Commission

YouLeaD alumni from the United States Mr. Everett Francis Icao and from the Sultanate of Oman Ms. Trisha Khate Orlanes shared their experiences, learnings, and takeaways from the YouLeaD program and how it helped them become capable youth leaders and advocates of their generation. They also lauded the YouLeaD program for widening their horizon not just as youth leaders and advocates, but as empowered Filipino youth citizens in their local communities and organizations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YouLeaD alumni sharing their learnings and takeaways from the YouLeaD program

ENFiD Chairperson and President Ms. Leonor Vintervoll talked about the importance of the Filipino youth and their indelible role as the critical agents of change. She also commended the YouLeaD program and its significance to the Filipino diaspora in the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

ENFiD Chairperson Ms. Leonor Vintervoll delivering her message

CFO Acting Executive Director and Head Executive Assistant Atty. Wendell Dimaculangan delivered the closing remarks, in which he expressed his sincere appreciation to the Filipino-European youth for participating in the event. He ended his message by assuring the overseas Filipino youths in Europe of the Commission’s unending support and assistance to their endeavors as their rights and welfare are of utmost importance in our society today.

CFO Acting Executive Director and Head Executive Assistant Atty. Wendell Dimaculangan during his closing remarks

The Ugnayan sa Kabataan sa Europe was co-hosted by Ms. Rozelle P. Carrera of the CFO-Project Management Division and Mr. Ace Paolo Dela Cruz of the International Organization for Migration.

The Ugnayan sa Kabataan sa Europe is the pilot Ugnayan launched virtually that is targeted to cater to overseas Filipino youth based in Europe. It had a total of 97 registered participants from all over the world and reached about 15,000 viewers from the European region, the Philippines and other countries through its official Facebook livestream. CFO hopes to partner with more Filipino youth organizations overseas to engage more participants in its next installations of the Ugnayan sa Kabataan program.