JMDI celebrates the Month of Overseas Filipinos December, 2015
The theme of the month-long celebration, “#Step-It-Up_MWC25: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally”, is in line with the 25th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
The Month has been celebrated since 2007 by virtue of a Presidential Executive Order creating an inter-agency committee with the theme and related activities for the celebration varying annually. The Department of the Interior and Local Government is one of the major supporters of the celebration, giving essence and importance to the local dimension of migration and development.
JMDI, the global inter-agency programme supported by the European Union and Swiss Development Cooperation and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme, also helped facilitate the MOF activities in order to promote the role and contribution of local actors, particularly the local governments in optimizing the role of migration in development. Migrant organizations lead these celebratory activities with the support of the local governments and other stakeholders.
The celebrations for Overseas Filipino Month Celebration supported by the JMDI Bicol project Mainstreaming migration and development in the governance of local authorities in Bicol Region, included a range of activities such as sport and cultural competitions, fun-raising activities, the launching of the Migrant Resource Center of Naga City, dancing and historical commemorations, a job fair, and a walk to celebrate Filipino migrants known as Hakbang Para sa Manlalakbay (steps for the migrants/travelers).
More than 400 people participated in the activities simultaneously organized in seven local governments of Bicol, including the cities of Naga, Legazpi, Sorsogon, Masbate, Ligao, Tabaco and the province of Camarines Norte. Overall, regional and local officials, families, migrants and migrant organizations, such as Pamilyang Migrante Kan Naga or PAMANA, the Organisasyon ng Pamilyang Migrante Kan Legazpi or OPM, Pamilyang Migrante Orgulyo Kan Sorsogon or PAMOSO, and the Federation of OFW Family Circles in Tabaco City, jointly celebrated the role of Overseas Filipinos for development in the country.
[Engr. Joseph Esplana (far right), Planning Officer of Legazpi City, led the opening ceremony of the Hakbang Para sa Manlalakbay]
JMDI SUMMID Calabarzon
In the Calabarzon region, where the JMDI is implementing the project entitled Strengthening, Upscaling and Mainstreaming International Migration and Development in Calabarzon, around 150 representatives coming from the local governments and migrant groups participated in the celebrations organized in the five provinces of Calabarzon, which included the launching of the Migrant Resource Centre of the Quezon province, a trade fair of local products and services, activities for children of migrants, the promotion of agriculture and eco-tourism and various cultural events.
[In addition to the walk for a cause, migrants participated in morning exercises and performances in Sorsogon City]
National and other regional events
In addition to the celebrations previously mentioned, the national and regional authorities organized several activities aiming to recognize the role of migrants for development at the local level and reinforce the cooperation and synergies among local stakeholders involved in mainstreaming of migration into local development.
For instance, the Migrants Coordinating Group (MCG) for Western Visayas had its founding assembly in Iloilo City. The main objective of the MCG is to create a regional platform for migrant organizations across Western Visayas to have regular dialogue and networking, strengthen their respective organizations and organize a more integrated or complementary programmes and services, and empower them to be more efficient and responsive partners with local governments.
Supported by the JMDI, the Migration and Development Initiative for Western Visayas project partners such as CFO, NEDA and the League of Local Planning and Development Coordinators, finalized the core programmes of the MCG covering activities such as advocacy and awareness raising, guidance and counseling, welfare protection and redress of grievances, savings and livelihood programs, and research.
Other activities included the organization of two forums, where migrant organizations and local government units interacted and determined strategic actions for mutual support. During these sessions the JMDI presented its work and new training material entitled “My JDMI Toolbox”, in order to highlight the benefits of mainstreaming migration into local planning.
Beyond recognizing migrants’ positive role in development, these celebrations held at the various levels (national, regional and local) also served to engage with migrants, their families and their associations to further understand their concerns and needs in order to feed these into ensuring a more effective response to managing migration for development in the Philippines.
[Migrants from Malaysia, Hongkong, Davao and Bukidnon had interface with their local governments during the capacity building on M&D mainstreaming in Northern Mindanao]