The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) opened the One Repatriation Center last month for distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Just recently, another important program has been announced: the Migration Resource Center (MRC).
The MRC is a “one-stop shop” for OFWs and their families. Soon, it will open within the Quezon City Hall compound. The center is made possible through a partnership between the city government and the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Migration Resource Center (MRC) Opening Soon in QC
On Monday, 22 August 2022, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and ILO Philippines Country Director Khalid Hassan signed an agreement to open the MRC. The event was held at Quezon City Hall and witnessed by European Union Ambassador to the Philippines HE Luc Véron, EU Head of Cooperation Christoph Wagner, and Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Manager Rogelio Reyes. Vice Mayor Gian Sotto also attended the event.
The MRC shall be funded by the European Union through its Safe and Fair Programme, the Philippine News Agency reported. The program seeks to strengthen labor migration governance as well as address risks related to migration.
“We are elated about this partnership as this means, finally, the implementation of our existing ordinance that pushes for the creation of an MRC,” Mayor Belmonte stated. “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.”
The said ordinance refers to City Ordinance SP 2500, “An Ordinance Creating the Quezon City Migrants Resource Center.” It was passed in 2016. Under this ordinance, the MRC will serve as a one-stop shop, seeking to:
- Cater to all types of migrants (permanent, temporary, undocumented);
- Provide assessment and referral services;
- Provide case handling and legal aid services;
- Facilitate local employment and psycho-social first aid;
- Offer reintegration services for returning OFWs; and
- Share relevant information and services through an OFW help desk.
Notably, ILO Philippines Country Director Khalid Hassan described the MRC as “a landmark step for OFWs,” particularly because a huge number of OFWs come from Quezon City.
“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,” Hassan declared.
Moreover, in line with the Quezon City Government’s focus on gender equality and women empowerment, the MRC will be tasked to develop gender-sensitive activities, in coordination with the Public Employment Services Office (PESO).
PESO Manager Rogelio Reyes shared that this time, at the local level, they will be implementing some of the key functions of the national government, while filling critical gaps in policy and program implementation, as well as service provision.
Indeed, the focus on gender-sensitive activities is timely. As of 2020, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that almost 60 percent of the over 1.77 million OFWs are women.
Meanwhile, more than 75 percent of OFWs working in lower-wage and/or hazardous jobs (e.g. domestic work, factory work, clerical work, sales, services, manufacturing, etc.) are predominantly women.
Congratulations to the Quezon City Government and the ILO for this breakthrough agreement! Without a doubt, many OFWs will benefit from the establishment of the MRC. We certainly hope that other cities and provinces in the country will follow suit and start a similar program for OFWs and their families.