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PIA Press Release

Displaced OFWs optimistic of brighter future

Manila (27 February) -- Displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other job seekers in the regions can look forward to a brighter future as the government intensifies its skills training assistance and provision of livelihood packages for them in the countryside.

In a job bridging skills event at SM City in Cagayan De Oro, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo personally led in the delivery of livelihood and training assistance packages to retrenched OFWs from three regions in Mindanao.

For 40-year old Jocelyn D. Cabisan, who returned to the country after losing job as beautician in Dubai, this government initiative inspires and gives her a fresh resolve to start new life. A single mother with two children, she was among the 30 beneficiaries of a P50,000 livelihood assistance package for OFWs.

"I am very thankful to the President for helping us. This is really a big help for my family," Cabisan said, adding she will use the money to expand their small sari-sari store in Salay, Misamis Oriental.

he Chief Executive awarded a total of 33 checks worth P2.7 million as livelihood assistance to OFWs from Mindanao. Of the 33, two checks worth P313,500 went to displaced OFWs from Lanao del Norte under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating mga Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) project.

Another check amounting to P573,000 was awarded to jobless residents from Lanao del Norte under the government`s Integrated Services for Livelihood Assistance for Marginalized Fisherfolks.

The 30 other checks worth P50,000 each, on the other hand, went to as many retrenched OFWs -- 10 from the Davao Region, 10 from Northern Mindanao Region and 10 from the Caraga Region.

Of the beneficiaries, however, Casiban`s future seems much brighter with a new job awaiting her now in Qatar.

"Its nice to hear that. Good luck to you," the Chief Executive told Casiban upon knowing she was re-hired as beautician in Qatar.

"I am truly grateful to our government, especially to you, Madam President," she said responded.

Under the government`s contingency plan for displaced OFWs, assistance primarily involves helping retrenched workers set up livelihood or income-generating projects or finding them another suitable employment locally or overseas.

Like Cabisan, Gelacio Cabanero and Alex Abragan are also among the lucky job applicants. Cabanero, 39, has been signed on as butcher in Alberta, Canada after undergoing TESDA skills training. He was among the first batch in the city who availed of the PGMA Scholarship Program. "Congratulations and good luck in your new work," the President told Cabanero.

Abragan, on the other hand, was hired on the spot after he readily qualified for the skills specifications by First CPM PERT Manpower Recruitment. "I am so happy I qualified for the position. Through the government's training assistance, I was able to get a new job," Abragan jubilantly said.

A former security guard, Abragan, 36, will work as heavy equipment operator in Saudi Arabia starting next month. He has just completed his short course in heavy equipment operations at the Skills Mastery Institute here under the PGMA Scholarship Program.

Aside from livelihood assistance, the President likewise turned over a number of PGMA Scholarship Program vouchers to displaced OFWs who need retraining and skills upgrading to qualify for jobs available overseas.

President Arroyo also took time to observe the skills demonstrations in welding, scaffolding and heavy equipment operation. Some 15,000 job items awaited the more than 2,000 jobseekers who trooped to the one day event here. (PND) [top]

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