(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 13 June 2024) Easterlies affecting the eastern sections of Southern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Easterlies. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from Southwest to Southeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Tuesday, 24 October 2023

Migrant Fair: A fusion of services and surprises

By Renelle L. Escuadro

Edgar Felicilda, an overseas Filipino worker, found immense joy in his work break when he won the Free Family Tour Package sponsored by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Caraga. This exciting moment happened at the first leg of this year's Migrant Fair, where nearly 500 participants gathered in Butuan City on October 20, 2023.   

Felicilda and his family of five, from Barangay Ong Yiu, Butuan City, straight away spent a day of fun and adventure at Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, and enjoyed the surprise vacation, as this is their first time to visit the place as a family. 

The Migrant Fair was successfully conducted in Agusan del Norte, spearheaded by the Inter-Agency Committee on the Month of Overseas Filipinos (IAC-MOF), led by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), together with the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), Department of Migrant Workers through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and other members of the committee, with the strong support of the provincial government of Agusan del Norte and Caraga regional line agencies.

It served as a convergence activity at the local level of migrant serving agencies and organizations, which gave tribute and brought services closer to the migrants who are either overseas Filipinos (OF) or overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and their families, such as free basic medical check-ups, health promotion and wellness activities, exhibiting the products of successful OFW returnees, a short forum and sharing of success stories of OFs, a job and trade fair, a cultural show, and free consultation from these participating agencies.

The arrival of the migrant Filipinos to the venue, whose population is highest in Agusan del Norte for Caraga region, was welcomed with full of energy and enthusiasm through a Zumba dance and games in which they actively participated, together with their families.

Assistant Secretary for Operations Evangeline Q. De Leon of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) and the members of the IAC-MOF, together with Agusan del Norte administrator Elizabeth Calo and other executives of the participating government agencies, officially opened the significant gathering with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting of the Migrant Fair.

The provincial administrator received with hospitality all the participating migrant Filipinos and their families and recognized all the government agencies for taking part in the event and bringing their services together in one location for the country’s Bagong Bayani.

"This is our little way of showing you that we recognize your presence and that we consider you to be our heroes. Thank you for your contribution to our country," Calo said.

"Today's Migrant Fair is more than just an event. This is a convergence of government agencies because we want to recognize and be of service to our fellow migrant Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families, and we want to know their stories to inspire others. We also affirm our commitment to continue to serve you, whether in entrepreneurship or other fields," said provincial director Loriejane Sacote of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Agusan del Norte.

Dir. Sacote shared that joining the Migrant Fair were 12 micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs), who are returning OFWs and have benefited from the programs of DTI Caraga, in which some of them made testimonies of their stories and how the government played a vital role in the success of their enterprises.

Another highlight was the financial assistance released to 21 OFWs, who each received the amount of P20,000 from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Caraga under the Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Program– a livelihood support package and assistance from the government to returning OFWs who are distressed or displaced.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Caraga, with its mini job fair, was joined by 11 employers and successfully hired on-the-spot 22 job seekers.

Moreover, as the communication frontline of the government, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga took the lead in the information drive of the Migrant Fair, with strong collaboration with the local and national media outfits, utilization of the agency’s different communication platforms, and the real-time distribution of information, education, and communication (IEC) materials from the partner agencies to the participants. 

Marites Ellena, an OFW in Singapore, is one of the grateful participants of the Migrant Fair. Just like the other migrant Filipinos, she also received 5 kilos of rice and other items and tokens from the different sponsoring agencies. She looked forward to the same activity happening annually in Caraga, stating, “This is my first time to join, and I am happy that the Migrant Fair has reached our region. Hopefully the local government can have this every year to inspire us migrants to go home more often.”

The annual celebration of the Month of Overseas Filipinos started with then-President Corazon Aquino, who issued Proclamation No. 276 in 1988, which institutionalized the said celebration every December, along with International Migrants Day on December 18.

Thereafter, an inter-agency committee was created through Administrative Order No. 202, as issued in October 2007 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, tasked on coming up with significant activities for the MOF celebration. (RLE/PIA-Caraga)