The Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) on the Celebration of the Month of Overseas Filipinos (MOF) kicks-off this year’s celebration with the Migrants’ Health Fair and Regional Forum on Migration at Sison Auditorium in Lingayen, Pangasinan on October 16, 2018. The pre-MOF activity was organized in partnership with the Provincial Government of Pangasinan and Department of Health Region 1; and was attended by more than 300 participants composed of migrants, migrant returnees and their families, OFW organizations, government employees and civil society groups, mainly from different cities and municipalities of Pangasinan.
The event started in the morning with the Migrants’ Health Fair. It was graced by Pangasinan Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim, Jr. and DOH Regional Director Dr. Valeriano Jesus V. Lopez, who also led the ribbon cutting for the formal opening of the event. With the theme, “Migranteng Pilipino: Kalusugan Iyong Pahalagahan, Maginhawang Buhay Makakamtan”, the health fair provided free basic health, promotional and wellness services to participants. These include hataw group exercise, basic medical and dental check-up, healthy lifestyle promotion, nutritional assessment, mental health program, blindness prevention, distribution of free medicines and vitamins, family planning, hands-on CPR demo, and massage. Government services were also provided by other IAC-MOF members and partners such as PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG, Social Security System, National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Trade and Industry, Commission on Filipinos Overseas, and International Organization for Migration through their respective members’ verification and contribution updating and information booths.
The participants were entertained with Filipino dance by Danggoan Pangasinan, a cultural dance group.
The Regional Forum then followed in the afternoon. With the theme: “Kaalaman sa Pera, Maginhawang Buhay ang Dala: Towards Financial Literacy for Overseas Filipinos and their Families”, the forum provided awareness on the different financial literacy programs and investment opportunities for overseas Filipinos and their families. Mr. Lance Velasco of Philippine Migrants Rights Watch delivered the opening message of Ms. Carmelita Nuqui, President of IAC-MOF.
Several government agencies presented their respective programs and services: Usec. Astravel Pimentel-Naik, co-Chair of IAC-MOF, presented CFO’s flagship program – PESO Sense: Financial Literacy Campaign for Overseas Filipinos and their Families, the CFO-LGU of Pangasinan partnership on migration and development, and inspirational stories of OFW returnees who succeeded in business; Ms. Natalia Dalaten of DTI-Pangasinan Office discussed entrepreneurship and investment opportunities that migrant families in Pangasinan should take advantage of such as cold storage, farm tourism, health and wellness, and bangus industry, among others; Ms. Iries S. Mazon presented the reintegration programs of NRCO and secured investments for overseas Filipinos. Mr. Ringo Danao of Philheath, Ms. Alma Madalura of Pag-IBIG, Mr. Romell Regino of SSS, Ms. Leiani Bolivar of DSWD, and Ms. Pinky Santi of Pag-IBIG presented updates on their programs and services for overseas Filipinos. Mr. William Perez and Ms. Jenny Mariano discussed IOM’s MigApp, an institutional tool that leverages current technology and the widespread use of mobile telecommunications to bring a secure and user-friendly downloadable app which serves as a one-stop-shop platform where migrants can access current, reliable and practical information and IOM services.
Mr. Lito Soriano and Karl Christian Vega, Model OFW Family of the Year (MOFYA) awardees shared their success stories as former migrants who were able to establish their successful businesses in the Philippines. Mr. Soriano is a former OFW from Saudi Arabia and now serves as the Chairman and President of LBS Recruitment Solutions Corp. and LBS Solutions, a recruitment agency and software solution company, respectively. He is also the President of two biggest associations of licensed recruitment agencies in the Philippines – the Philippine Association of Service Exporters Inc. (PASEI) and the Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan (PAMAAT). Mr. Vega is a former OFW from Dubai and currently owns and manages various businesses that include KCVega Construction and Supply and KCVega Properties, involved in construction, real properties, dormitories, resort and hotel accommodations.
Mr. Alex Ferrer, PESO Manager and Chair of Pangasinan M&D Council, gave the closing remarks.
The event was hosted by OWWA Deputy Administrator Arnell Ignacio and Ms. Hazel Sison.
The next Migrant Health Fair and Regional Forum will be conducted in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental and Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental in November 2018.