By US News Agency / Asian
Thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Pampanga, including their families, will stand to benefit with the establishment of the Provincial Action for Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concern (PACOC).
“The LGUs have a big role to play in addressing the needs of OFWs and their families, that is why, we thought of establishing the PACOC,” Governor Lilia Pineda said.
Pineda said the PACOC will work hand-in-hand with the Pampanga Inter-Agency Council for Migrants’ Concerns (PIAMCO), and government line agencies such as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), in closely monitoring and looking after the welfare of the OFWs and their families.
“Together, we will make sure that only legitimate recruiting agencies are the ones our prospective OFWs deal with,” the governor said.
Heads of the various agencies gave their commitment to fully support the PACOC and its endeavors to help out migrant workers and their families.
Socorro Castro, head of the OWWA in the region, committed to speed up the resolution of cases involving OFWs and proposed the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the provincial government and municipal governments “to ensure swift provision of services” regarding their concerns”.
Director Asuncion Florentino of the DFA revealed that 80 percent of passport applicants are OFWs and most of these are from Pampanga.
While priority is given to OFWs who have to go abroad, she said, the closer networking between the provincial government and the other agencies “will facilitate the process of verifying the legality of recruitment agencies that the prospective OFWs deal with”.
Atty. Ricardo Diaz, regional director of the NBI, has vowed to be within easy and immediate reach for anything that the provincial government would need in the process of helping out OFWs and other sectors in the province.
Erlinda Pineda of the DTI’s Consumer Welfare and Business Development Division said they focus on helping OFWs get started in business through skills training, linkages with groups and agencies that could be of help and in the preparation of documents and other requirements.
Winifreda Palma of the POEA satellite office in Pampanga also committed to fully support the PACOC in its activities.
Fr. Serrano of PIAMCO also thanked the governor for putting up the PACOC because now, the church-based organization has a “strong partner in the provincial government and the agencies tasked to assist migrant workers in their concerns”.
Lina Regala, wife of an OFW, who came along with other OFW families, spoke in their behalf and expressed their gratitude to the governor for her genuine concern for their welfare.
Pineda said she will meet with these concerned agencies at least once a month “to keep everyone updated on the services and activities being done to assist OFWs and their families.
The governor also disclosed that through their efforts, they were able to help some 2,000 Kapampangans to work as factory workers in South Korea.
“We shall be visiting them in Korea sometime in October to see how they are doing there,” she said.