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Ilocos Region

PIA Press Release
Friday, January 06, 2012

Ilocano OFWs abroad go interactive through Facebook

by Miriam P. Aquino

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union, Jan. 6 (PIA) –- Ilocano Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) abroad battling for homesickness go interactive through the use of social networking as initiated by Edwardo M. Benavidez, the man behind the success of Ilocano Ako Proud Ako (IAPA) and Bileg Ti Ilocano/Power of Ilocanos (BTI).

The interactive community organizations created Facebook pages on April 3, 2010 and October 10, 2010 to cater to the needs of Ilocano OFWs as a venue for exchanging grievances and boosting each others morale to cope with the consequences of working abroad apart from their families.

Labor Communication Officer Amapola Z. Villar of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office 1 (OWWA-RWO1) said that Benavidez, an OFW since 1997 who knew very well the needs of fellow Ilocanos overseas, has seen the Internet world not just as a valuable medium for communication but also as a great form of shock-absorber, a cure to homesickness, and an alternative way to gather updates and pertinent information here and abroad.

Villar added that BTI was created as an extension of IAPA since the former is rapidly gaining followers reaching to 52,311 while BTI currently has 10, 947 subscribers.

IAPA and BTI administrators who are all successful OFWs even grant prizes to winners on various online guessing/word games posted on their respective facebook page, Villar added.

Even OWWA-RWO1 was given the authority to post updates and important announcements to IAPA and BTI Pages for information-dissemination purposes as this will provide clarification and guidance to OFW clients of Region 1 extending the assistance through online interaction.

Earlier last month, some members of these community organizations gathered at Normis Beach Front Resort in San Juan, this province to meet each other personally and had an early Christmas celebration. Same event was also conducted in Hong Kong for the BTI Hong Kong Chapter members.

On December 23, 2011, IAPA-BTI members in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia led by Benavidez gave Christmas gifts to Bahay-Kalinga in OWWA ward/consulate which houses 70 OFWs. Also, Benavidez informed that they plan to conduct a medical mission there come February, Villar said. (ANL/MPA-PIA 1 La Union with reports from OWWA-RWO1)

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