The Sub-Committee on International Migration and Development (SCIMD) Region VI partnered with the International Labour Organization (ILO) for the Training on Strengthening Labor Migration Programs and Services and Operationalizing Reintegration through Migrant Resource Centers (MRCs) and OFW Helpdesks in Western Visayas at the Park Inn Hotel in Iloilo City from February 28 to March 1, 2023.

The training was conducted to strengthen the capacity of OFW helpdesk providers and to streamline interagency coordination mechanisms on fair and ethical recruitment and sustainable gender-sensitive reintegration.

In her welcome message, Ms. Ma. Concepcion Sardana, Senior Programme Officer for the ILO Country Office for the Philippines, mentioned that ILO’s collaboration with the SCIMD Region VI resulted in the endorsement of Regional Development Council (RDC) VI Resolution No. 66, Series of 2021, that supports the strengthening and establishment of OFW helpdesks and MRCs in the local government units (LGUs).

“The Resolution fosters technical assistance to LGUs on migration governance to match local migration plans with regional priorities. ILO is glad to support the implementation of this regional policy,” said Sardana.

Regional Director Arecio A. Casing, Jr. of the National Economic and Development Authority in Western Visayas responded with his Message of Support and highlighted the significant contribution of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to the economy’s growth.

“Our Overseas Filipino Workers are regarded as the economic heroes of our country. OFW remittances contribute to the country’s balance of payments and foreign reserves, improve the standard of living among families, and increase the people’s purchasing power,” Director Casing said.

The three-day regional training focused on strengthening the capacity of local migration service providers on rights-based and gender-responsive migration programs and services, fair recruitment, pre-migration preparation of OFWs and their families, and sustainable return and reintegration.

The training also allowed for sessions to promote the migration and development agenda and its implementation at the local level.  The Western Visayas region has consistently supported the migration and development agenda. It is the only region that included a separate sub-chapter in the Western Visayas Regional Development Plan, 2023-2028 specifically for migration and development. (RADemonteverde/NEDA6)