(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Raynald C Rivera | The Peninsula
Reintegration of returning overseas Filipinos to the society is crucial to the development of the Philippines as a nation, said Carmelita G Nuqui, President of Philippine Migrants Watch.
Speaking at the International Forum on Migration in Qatar yesterday at the InterContinental Doha, Nuqui lauded overseas Filipinos for sustaining the Philippine economy through their remittances, and that in return the government provides measures to protect and promote their rights and welfare throughout the migration cycle.
With $29.9bn total remittances last year, the Philippines ranked third worldwide as top recipient of remittances next to India and China.
'Although we are providing measures to protect and promote the rights and welfare of our overseas Filipinos prior to departure and on site, there is a need to focus well on the return and reintegration. Reintegration of our migrants, especially our dear OFWs, is crucial for our country's development as a nation, said Nuqui, who chairs the Inter-Agency Committee on the Celebration of the Month of Overseas Filipinos.
This month marks the 11th annual celebration of Month of Overseas Filipinos which coincides with the Internationaral forums held as part of the activities for the month.
'We are happy to be able to reach out to you as being one of the most active and largest groups of overseas Filipinos. We are aware of your active involvement and interaction among various stakeholders here when it comes to the protection and promotion of the welfare of migrants and their families. You have also been instrumental in helping our country's progress beyond remittances through your community's partnership with various organizations for development and philanthropic projects, she said.
There are 10.2 million Filipinos in more than 200 countries and territories and Qatar ranks ninth among the countries with the highest number of overseas Filipinos.
Ambassador Alan L Timbayan echoed the importance of reintegration by urging overseas Filipinos here to prepare for their return.
'Reintegration is a very important matter that every overseas and migrant Filipino should be aware of. While we continue to work in foreign lands for the benefit of our family and our country, let us not forget that most of us are bound to go home sooner or later. As we address the needs that we face today, let us not forget the planning that is required for our future, said Timbayan.
He noted that the government has embarked on offering and implementing programs that promote reintegration of overseas Filipinos to the Philippine economy and the society, which is its way to take care of returning overseas Filipinos after long and fruitful employment abroad.
'However, even as the government tries to do its part in facilitating economic reintegration, we should also realide that we, as responsible Filipinos, have to do our part in ensuring the success of the of reintegration. While the government can present all the reintegration programmes in all their forms, it is our duty as citizens to also prepare for our eventual return, the envoy stressed.
Mark Espina of National Reintegration Center for OFWs presented the various reintegration programmes and services for returning migrants, including Small business management training and financial awareness seminar, Livelihood development assistance programme, Balik Pinay Balik Hanapbuhay, Assist WELL programme, Sa Pinas, Ikaw ang Ma'am/Sir, Biyaheng Agri-preneur, and ISP business plan competition for seafarers.
With the theme 'Enhancing Reintegration, Leaving No Migrants and Their Families Behind, the forum organised by the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labour Office, saw around 200 overseas Filipinos in attendance.
Reintegration and financial literacy programs of institutional partners in Qatar and success stories of overseas Filipinos were among the topics focused during the forum. The attendees were also given updates on PAG-IBIG funds services available for overseas Filipinos.
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