The Committee on Migration and Development (CMD) of the CALABARZON Regional Development Council approved several activities to support the reintegration of returning overseas Filipino (ROFs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic during its third quarter meeting last August 5.

Foremost of these activities is the regional implementation of the Balikabayanihan Campaign to encourage Filipinos to provide a helping hand to ROFs. The Balikabayanihan Campaign is being organized by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency, the OWWA-National Reintegration Center for OFWs, and the Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiative, Inc.

The CMD and Atikha, the co-chair of the CMD, will jointly conduct the Balikabayanihan Campaign in the region. Focus is on identifying priority products where ROFs can invest and technologies that enhance production. Online seminars on business opportunities and training are among the initial activities that will be conducted.

In support to the Balikabayanihan, the service map for ROFs will be updated. The service map shows the list of available services and assistance from government agencies, local government units and civil society organizations.

Joint action researches with the national and state universities and colleges will also be conducted to identify products that will be promoted for investment under the Balikabayanihan project. Aside from mapping business opportunities in CALABARZON, studies on the needs and capacities of ROFs and their families, and gender-responsive reintegration will also be prioritized.

As of August 3, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) assisted a total of 6,442 ROFs in CALABARZON. Majority of which are residents of Batangas and Laguna.

Jennylyn P. Jucutan, NEDA Region IV-A| August 11, 2020