I. Program Overview
The Philippines is known as a major source country of global workers. These Overseas Filipinos are either regular migrants or temporary residents abroad whose stay overseas is employment-related and who are expected to return at the end of their work contracts.
Also, a significant number of Filipinos left the country without proper documents. These are the undocumented Overseas Filipinos (OFS) who are more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Their situations pose a bigger challenge given the absence of mechanisms and measure to reach and identify them. Being undocumented also means they have a very little access to health services and information, as well as protection from abuse and exploitation.
To address this concern, and in order to establish a higher standard of protection of the welfare of migrant, the government has established mechanisms to regulate international migration, among others. These systems and mechanisms, seeking to establish a higher standard of protection of the welfare of migrant workers especially those in distress (as well as their families), include those that ensure the proper documentation of Filipinos who wish to go out of the country. The government has also passed Republic Act (RA) No 11299, an Act Establishing the Office for Social Welfare Attaché, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 8042, Otherwise Known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995”. The latter law sought to further improve standards relating to the protection and promotion of the welfare of migrant workers, Overseas Filipinos in distress, as well as their families, two of the salient provision of the law related the protection of OFWs is the establishment of Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC) and placement of social workers in the said center to provide social welfare and protection services. Its general objective is to ensure that the general welfare and rights of the Overseas Filipinos, primarily the undocumented and distressed Filipinos abroad and their families, are protected and promoted through the establishment of an effective and efficient system of Social Welfare Attaché (SWAtt) deployment and managing International Social Services Offices (ISSOs) both at the DSWD head office and in Foreign Posts.
Foreign and Field Offices Posts
- Psychosocial Services
- Counseling services by either individual, group, family.
- Psychosocial Services First Aid
- Psychosocial Processing
- Value Inculcation Services
- Other Psychosocial Recovery and resiliency
- Pre-Marriage/Marriage Counseling
- Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS)
- Transportation Assistance for repatriation and transportation within the post and in the Philippines
- Medical Assistance through provision of limited financial assistance for payment of consultation/medical examination, laboratory fees, hospitalization, and purchase of medicines.
- Material Assistance which includes but not limited to clothing, sleeping blankets/supplies. hygiene kit, and food.
- Communication assistance through provision of cell card or free-phone calls for those who have no means of contacting with their families/relatives in the Philippines
- Temporary Shelter assistance
- Referral Services
Referral to agencies for the provision of needed services such as but not limited to:
- Airport Assistance
- Temporary Shelter/Accommodation
- Transport Assistance to Residence
- Emergency Medical Assistance
- Livelihood Assistance
- Stress Debriefing
- Training/Capability Building Activities
Capacitate Government Organizations, Non-Government Organizations, OFW Organizations, and other agencies in providing services and addressing the needs of OFWs. Most training/capability building activities cover two major components – economic and psycho-social. The economic component includes social preparation programs for livelihood projects or community-based income generating projects, skills training and credit facilitation and lending. Activities may take place while overseas to prepare workers for the reintegration and upon return to the Philippines. On the other hand, the psycho-social components include community organizing program or organizing of OFW family circles and services like social counselling, family counselling, stress debriefing, and training on capacity building, value formation.
- Other Services needed by OFS
III. Target Beneficiaries
Distressed Overseas Filipinos (OFs)
IV. Eligibility Requirements
Based on the ISSO Social Worker’s Assessment
V. Documentary Requirements
- Travel Document(s)
- Certification from OWWA or any proof of repatriation
- Barangay Certificate of Residency or Certificate of Indigency
VI. Contact Person/s
CLARIVEL C. BANZUELA
Social Welfare Officer V/ Chief, Statutory Programs Division
(072) 687 – 8000loc. 219
FE G. SARMIENTO
Social Welfare Officer IV/ Head, Community-Based Services Section
(072) 687- 8000loc. 212
VII. Legal Bases
- Administrative Order No. 07 Series of 2016
Subject: Guidelines in the Operation of the DSWD’s International Social Services Office (ISSO) in the Philippines and in Foreign Posts https://www.dswd.gov.ph/issuances/AOs/AO_2016-007.pdf
- An Act Establishing the Office for Social Welfare Attaché, amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 8042, Otherwise Known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995”, as Amended, and for Other Purposes