In partnership with the Provincial Government of Davao Occidental and the Municipality of Malita, Davao Occidental and in coordination with the Derpartment of Labor and Employment, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration – Regional Wefare Office XI held its Skills and Livelihood Fair and the annual OFW Family Day in the province last December 1, 2019 at the provincial gymnasium.

This year’s event was participated by around 1,300 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families from the different municipalities of Davao Occidental, Davao del Sur, Davao City and Compostela Valley Province. It aims to gather them to spend quality time with their loved ones amid the backdrop of fun and wholesome entertainment during the holiday season.

With the theme, “Kagalingan at Kabuhayan Para sa Kinabukasan ng  Pamilyang OFWs”, a Skills and Livelihood Fair was conducted to showcase the various programs and services of OWWA, partner government agencies and some beneficiaries who promoted their manufactured  products for the OFWs and their families while fun and entertainment filled the celebration of OFW Family Day.

In his welcome message, OWWA XI Regional Director Ron Lionel Bartolome expressed his earnest gratitude to the Local Government of Davao Occidental and the Municipal Government of Malita including the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) personnel for extending their enormous support to make the event possible.

Partner government agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Negosyo Center, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Social Security System (SSS), and Pag-IBIG Fund catered to various queries and concerns of the participants while trainers, hairdressers and beauticians from Arlyn L. Basquez Academy of Beauty and Assessment Center, Inc. provided free haircut, manicure and pedicure to interested participants. A demonstration on the proper hairdressing and safety procedures on nail care was likewise conducted during the event to give the participants an idea on hairdressing and beauty care.

Lots of fun, entertainment, games and raffle draw thrilled the participants in the whole day event. Performers from different OFW Family Circles entertained the crowd while members of the Kasinag Sidlakan Performing Ensemble of Davao Occidental showcased the province’s culture in their heart-warming dances.

Some products of the different OFW Family Circles like assorted curtain and pillow cases, organic food and native delicacies were displayed at the livelihood area.

This year’s event was made possible through the support of OWWA’s social partners like Paramount Life and General Insurance Corp. who raffled off complete set of dip fryer, steamer and a cash while MMML Recruitment Services, Inc. gave away sari-sari store package worth P10,000.00.

Various gift packs and appliances courtesy of Jensen Manpower Agency, Concorde International, Inc., Humania International, Inc., Silver Skilled Recruitment Inc., Online Hiring Corp., A. Kanan Manpower Corp. and giveaways from RD Pawnshop made the participants more excited during the raffle draw.

Major prizes from OWWA XI include three (3) units of Fujidenzu Chest Freezer and and a cash prize worth Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) while minor prizes include 300 bags of 5-kilo rice and 100 pieces of Noche Buena packs. Likewise, 100 lucky participants won 500.00 each during the raffle draw.

Anthony Dumanacal from Malita, Davao Occidental and a husband of a domestic worker in Kuwait, was one of the lucky winners of the chest freezer. He felt so happy upon receiving his prize because he planned to sell fish but he has no freezer. “Now that I won this freezer, it is now possible to start my business and I can help my wife in sustaining the needs of our children,” he said.

Another raffle winner was Venus Tiwo, a former domestic worker in Lebanon and a resident of Sta. Maria, Davao Occidental who won P10,000.00 cash. “This blessing is so timely. I have an existing online ticketing business and this amount will serve as my additional capital,” she said.

Among the honored guests of the event were Jean Seekins-Bautista, LGU Malita Executive Assistant, representing Municipal Mayor Bradly Bautista and Honorable Ali “Jun” Colina, Sangguniang Bayan Member, who delivered an inspirational message on behalf of Governor Claude Bautista. Harly May Pedroso, on the other hand, the Employment Focal Person of DOLE XI Davao Occidental Field Office read the message of support on behalf of Regional Director Raymundo Agravante and Provincial Head Mario Sinajon.

In his message, SB Member Colina expressed his sincere gratitude to OWWA for bringing its programs and services to the province and for making their constituents experienced the joy of the celebration. “We are so glad that you held your annual OFW Family Day in our province. It is our great pleasure and honor to be hosting this OFW event,” he said.

The conduct of Skills and Livelihood Fair and OFW Family Day in the Province of Davao Occidental has given a great opportunity to the OFWs and their families to know the mandate of OWWA and the programs and services they may avail of. Laarni Baring, a former entertainer in Japan and domestic worker in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia felt glad because through the event, she felt the importance of being an overseas Filipino worker while Mary Ann Uy, a former domestic worker in Hongkong thanked OWWA for giving them the opportunity to avail of its programs and services and win fabulous prizes during the raffle. Uy won a sari-sari store package worth Ten Thousand (Php10,00.00) courtesy of MMML Recruitment Services, Inc. during the raffle. (by: Maricel T. Sarabillo, LCO, OWWA-RWO XI)