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OFW livelihood program in the works: MinDA exec

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), along with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) XI, is formulating a livelihood program for the repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Romeo Montenegro, MinDA deputy executive director, said in yesterday’s Habi at Kape forum in Abreeza Ayala Mall that there are an estimated four million OFWs in the Middle East.

Although he said the tension has simmered in the Middle East as cooler heads prevailed on both leaderships of the United States and Iran, it is still crucial to create a fallback plan. In fact, they are trying to encourage the OFWs to go back home by providing them with viable alternatives.

The MinDA partnered with DOLE and OWWA-XI to provide livelihood programs for the OFWs, such as poultry and agriculture. But the more important thing is how to make them sustainable.

Although the OWWA XI has existing livelihood programs, repatriated OFWs still go back overseas due to better opportunities and higher wages.

The MinDA proposed that these livelihood programs would not require the physical presence of the OFWs. It means they can still go work overseas to augment their income.

The proposal is still in the works, but Montenegro said they plan to expand it from region-wide to the entire Mindanao. The draft is expected to be presented next week to DOLE and OWWA regional directors. Moreover, they are also in the process of profiling the OFWs in Mindanao to determine the possible opportunities for them.

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