Around 1,000 migrant workers and their families from the different municipalities of Davao de Oro joined the OWWA Reintegration Caravan and OFW Family Fun Day last December 19, 2019 at the Montevista Sports Complex Gymnasium, Montevista, Davao de Oro.

The event was in coordination with the Provincial Government of Davao de Oro through its Public Employment Service Office (PESO) who assisted OWWA XI in the preparation  of the event. The reintegration caravan aims to provide awareness on the various programs and services of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and its partner government and other stakeholders and to showcase the different products of the OFW Family Circles in the province while the OFW Family Fun Day aims to gather OFWs and their families to spend quality time with their loved ones amid the backdrop of fun and wholesome entertainment during the holiday season.

On behalf of OWWA XI Regional Director Ron Lionel Bartolome, Programs and Services Division Chief Carmelo Elaya welcomed guests and participants. In his message, he expressed his sincere gratitude to the Local Government of Davao de Oro for the unwavering support they extended to make the event possible.

Miles Atugan, the Executive Assistant to the Governor, delivered the inspirational message on behalf of Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy. According to him, giving importance to the OFWs and their families in the province is already an inspiration. He thanked OWWA for choosing Davao de Oro as this year’s venue for the Reintegration Caravan and OFW Family Day and for giving them the chance to win fabulous prizes.

The event was also graced by Honorable Eutropio Jayectin, the Municipal Mayor of Montevista, Davao de Oro and the region’s regional winner for the Model OFW Family of the Year Award (MOFYA) – seabased category in 2011. “Being a seafarer for 16 years, I made sure that I can establish my own business and stop from overseas work,” said the Mayor. He encouraged the families of OFWs to have proper management of the remittances sent by the loved ones working abroad.

Isidrick Paqueo, OIC – Provincial Head of the Department of Labor and Employment, on the other hand, delivered a message of support on behalf of Regional Director Raymundo Agravante. He emphasized that OFWs should know the reintegration program of the government so that they will be given the opportunity to avail of it.

Highlights of the event include skills and livelihood fair where various manufactured products of the OFW Family Circles were displayed and promoted at the livelihood area while beauticians and massage therapists from TESDA Davao de Oro rendered free haircut and therapeutic massage to interested participants.  Other highlight was the skills demonstration on making handicraft products rendered by former OFW and handicraft maker, Ronelyn Achacoso while Agnes Luna, former OFW and beautician from Arlyn L. Basquez Academy of Beauty and Assessment Center, Inc. provided demonstration on the proper make up application.

The whole day event was not only for fun and entertainment, but also a learning session. Fr. Romeo Castillo, the Director of the Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, provided inputs on realities of being an overseas Filipino Worker. In his presentation, he clarified that OFWs are human and not an ATM and the five balls of life that should be given value are: work, health, family, friends, and spirit.

Representatives from partner government agencies like the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and Social Security System (SSS) catered to various clients who inquired about their respective programs and services. Likewise, TESDA and DTI representatives discusssed and promoted their various programs and services for the OFWs and their families.

Twenty (20) benefiaries of the Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program from the different municipalities of Davao de Oro received their livelihood assistance worth Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) each  during the program.

The most awaited part of the program was the raffle of prizes. OWWA XI raffled 40 pcs. of noche buena package and 100 bags of 5-kilo rice. Forty lucky participants won P1,000,00 each and one winner for the P10,000.00 cash. This year’s major prize was 2 units of Fujidenzo Chest Freezer which was won by Julieta Talon and Jacqueline Palomayo, both dependents of OFW. Winners felt glad and thenful for the blessings they received.

Other raffle prizes like kitchenwares and other gift items were courtesy of the Association of Recruitment Agencies in Davao, Inc. (ARADI).

The crowd was entertained by the students of Montevista National High School Dance Theatre who rendered various dance numbers while Mariz Lasaca, Garbo Comvalenyo Winner and Tawag ng Tanghalan Weekly Winner serenaded the crowd with her powerful voice. Production numbers from the members of the different OFW Family Circles in Davao de Oro made the event more meaningful.  (OWWA XI)