The Quezon City government, in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO), is set to open the Migrant Resource Center (MRC) within the City Hall compound, that is poised to become the first-ever one-stop shop destination for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families in the National Capital Region.
The establishment of the center is part of the implementation agreement signed today by the city government and the ILO to boost the city’s migration and development governance, program implementation, and service delivery.
“We are elated about this partnership as this means, finally, the implementation of our existing ordinance that pushes for the creation of an MRC. From then until now, our goal is to honor our OFWs by taking action and leading them to a future where they will be met with a positive, profitable, and successful cross-border journey,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte, referring to Ordinance SP 2500, s 2016 or “An Ordinance creating the Quezon City Migrants Resource Center” which she has passed as Vice-Mayor, together with the 19th City Council.
Under the said Ordinance, the MRC will cater to all types of migrants, as well as permanent, temporary and undocumented workers. Likewise, various migration programs and services from Quezon City and other partner groups will be brought under one roof. It will provide assessment and referral services, local employment facilitation, psycho-social first aid, and the provision of relevant information on migration through the OFW Help Desk.
Case handling and legal aid services will also be made available as well as reintegration services such as livelihood skills training, re-skilling, and re-tooling for those returning to the city and seminars and training to OFWs and their family circles.
Further, in keeping with the City’s strong advocacy for women’s empowerment and gender equality, the center will be tasked with developing gender-sensitive activities for migratory women. The Public Employment Services Office is the Secretariat.
PESO Manager Rogelio Reyes said the move is a testament that the city is stepping up as a partner of the national government in protecting the rights and welfare of OFWs.
“This time we are implementing at the local level some of the key functions of the national government, and we are filling critical gap areas in policy and program implementation and service provision,” Reyes said.
Funded by the European Union, this support is part of the Safe and Fair Programme, the programme for the ASEAN of the Spotlight Initiative, a 500-million-euro EU-UN partnership to end violence against women and girls. The ILO-UN Women-IOM BRIDGE Programme, which aims to help the government achieve its commitments under the Global Compact for Migration, will also contribute to the initiative.
Mr. Khalid Hassan, Director of the ILO Country Office in the Philippines said establishing the Migrant Resource Center is a landmark step for OFWs, as Quezon City is recognized as one of the top places of origin for OFWs.
“We affirm the technical partnership with Quezon City on MRC on the following components: improving gender-responsive service delivery and coordination mechanisms; enhancing local data collection and management; capacity-building for migration stakeholders including service providers, OFWs, families, communities, OFW groups and networks; strengthening migrant groups and networks; and increasing public awareness on labor migration and MRC,” said Hassan.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are over 1.77 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) abroad as of 2020, almost 60% of whom are women. More than 75% of OFWs abroad work in lower-paid, more precarious jobs like domestic work, clerical, sales, services or factory/manufacturing jobs. Women predominate in these more precarious jobs. The National Capital Region is among the top 5 regions of origin of OFWs.