Regional migration concerns were discussed by the RDC SDC-Sub-Committee on Migration and Development (SCMD) during its First Semester Business Meeting on June 18, 2021.
The committee endorsed the milestones in migration and development initiatives as reported in the 2020 Regional Development Report where major interventions for the OFWs and locally stranded individuals (LSI) were highlighted. These include the provision of legal assistance to OFWs and issuance of Overseas Employment Certificates in the Balik-Manggagawa Program by the POEA. Several COVID-19 programs are also being implemented such as the DOLE Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (DOLE-AKAP), OWWA Uwian Na and Hatid Sundo Program, and the priority vaccination for OFWs.
Through the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program, beneficiaries in the region were provided with various assistance packages from the Provincial Government of Isabela and regional agencies of DA, DTI, DOH, DSWD, DOLE, TESDA and CDA. A total of 15 individuals arrived last March 6 and April 6. Another 14 individuals will arrive on July 9 this year. All beneficiaries are from the province of Isabela.
Another COVID-19 response program is the Bayanihan Para sa Balik Kabayan (BalikaBayanihan) Campaign, providing displaced and repatriated OFWs and their families with sustainable livelihood opportunities in the country. The campaign mobilizes national and local governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private sectors to help the returnees in setting up their business in the country.
The members of the SCMD were also informed on the highlights of the 2018 National Migration Survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority. The Report revealed that the Cagayan Valley has the highest percentage of households with overseas Filipinos with 16 percent followed by Western Visayas (13 percent) and SOCCSKSARGEN (12 percent).