First talk show segment: Dir. Banua of NEDA Region IV-A, Dr. Nancy Pascual of URS, Dir. Mai Anonuevo of Atikha/Global M&D Academy, Ms. Sheryl Briton-Caya of OWWA Region IV-A, and Dr. Abraham de Castro of PESO Bacoor City shared their organizations’ initiatives to assist the OFs during the pandemic. The talk show was moderated by Dr. Vanessah Castillo of Batangas State University.

The CALABARZON Committee on Migration and Development (CMD) highlighted the government and private sector initiatives towards the successful reintegration of Overseas Filipinos (OFs) during the conduct of 2021 Migration and Development (M&D) Forum on October 28 via Zoom video conference.

The CMD IV-A recognizes the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic to the OFs and their families. Thus, this year’s M&D forum theme: “Mainstreaming Migration and Development Towards Successful Reintegration in the Time of Pandemic” showcased OF returnees’ success stories who ventured to business and enterprise development despite of challenges brought by the pandemic.

During the forum, Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon of NEDA Policy and Planning Group shared the updated overall Philippine Development Framework Plan where a new chapter on protecting the rights, promoting the welfare, and expanding opportunities for OFs was included.

Meanwhile, in a talkshow segment of the forum, Dir. Luis Banua of NEDA Region IV-A, Dir. Mai Añonuevo of Atikha/Global M&D Academy, Dr. Abraham De Castro of PESO Bacoor City, Dr. Nancy Pascual of University of Rizal System, and Ms. Sheryl Briton-Caya of OWWA Region IV-A conveyed how they were able to assist OFs, address challenges in implementing M&D initiatives, and shared their future programs and services for OFs and their families left behind. In his message, Dir. Banua encouraged everyone to work together to continuously strengthen and promote M&D in CALABARZON.

Second talk show segment: OF returnees, Mr. Dario Opistan, Ms. Carmelita Magpile, and Mr. Gilbert Barrera shared their reintegration experiences and success stories towards business development. The segment was moderated by Ms. Florita Lachica of Batangas PSWDO.

In the second talkshow segment, OF returnees, Mr. Gilbert Barrera of Naic, Cavite, Mr. Dario Opistan of Pagbilao, Quezon, and Ms. Carmelita Magpile of Calaca, Batangas shared their stories as overseas workers, and how the government and the private sector assisted them upon their return to the Philippines. The OF returnees as resource persons also shared their journey in setting up their own businesses. Fellow OFs expressed their gratitude to the speakers for giving them valuable tips on business development and for serving as inspirations.

In her closing message, Exec. Dir. Aileen Constantino-Peñas, CMD Vice Chairperson and Atikha Executive Director, emphasized that the forum clearly showed the importance of partnerships and cooperation in providing opportunities for OFs and in delivering meaningful M&D interventions despite the pandemic.

Participants and resource persons during the 2021 M&D Forum.

It was attended by 173 participants from local government units, regional line agencies, state universities and colleges, and private sector from different regions including OFs and their families in the platform and viewed by 157 individuals on Facebook (as of October 28, 5:00 p.m.).

Luningning D. Llames, NEDA Region IV-A | October 29, 2021