The Central Luzon Subcommittee on Migration and Development (SMD), created under the Regional Development Council III – Sectoral Committee on Social Development (RDC III-SCSD), conducted its organizational meeting on 21 January 2021 via Zoom.

The SMD is the region’s response to the need of having a more coherent policy framework at the regional level that would support mainstreaming of migration concerns in development planning and management. The region is the second highest Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)-sending region in the country with a 14.3 percent share of the recorded 2,229,000 OFWs based on the Philippine Statistical Authority’s (PSA) 2018 Survey on Overseas Filipinos.

NEDA 3 OIC-Regional Director Agustin C. Mendoza, Chairperson of the SMD, presided over the organizational meeting that was attended by about 20 member LGUs and RLAs. In his opening message, RD Mendoza highlighted how the pandemic has affected our Overseas Filipinos (OFs) with most of them having to return to the country jobless. He called upon government partners in the region down to the local level to ensure rights and welfare of our OFs are continually protected and upheld.

One of the key items discussed was the Balikabayanihan Campaign of Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiatives Inc. and the Philippine National Volunteers Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) which aims to provide COVID-19 displaced OFWs and other returning Filipinos with sustainable livelihood opportunities in the country. Atikha Chairperson Estrella Mai D. Anonuevo presented the proposed plans for building back better in preparing OFWs and families for migration and reintegration in the region.

Recognizing the need to guarantee well-coordinated efforts to support or assist OFs and their families, the SMD agreed to come up with the mapping of migration and reintegration services or programs offered by the national government agencies, local government units, and non-government organizations in Central Luzon.

Also discussed were the SMD’s proposed work program for FY 2021 and the confirmation of officers and members with DOLE 3 as Vice-Chairperson and RDC Private Sector Representative Dr. Elena C. Tesoro as Co-Chairperson. Other member agencies and organizations include Commission on Overseas Filipinos (CFO), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration (OWWA), National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), DILG 3, DSWD 3, DOH 3, TESDA 3, CHED 3, POPCOM 3, PIA 3 and DA 3, representatives from the seven provinces and two highly-urbanized cities, i.e. Angeles and Olongapo, and ATIKHA.  (Viel Reyes, NEDA-PFPD).

NEDA Central Luzon

Photos by NEDA Central Luzon