Moved by the difficult situation that many OFWs are faced with during the pandemic, the Atikha, led by its chairperson and Board of Trustee of OWWA, Mai Dizon-Anonuevo signed-up with the ‘Be A Volunteer’ Platform of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA). Atikha is a civil society organization working with Overseas Filipinos and their families to maximize the gains of working abroad. Together with OWWA NRCO, they committed to spearhead a movement that will call for the support of all sectors of society to help address the situation of OFWs.
The Balikabayanihan is reliving the spirit of “Bayanihan” or volunteerism among Filipinos from all walks of life and creed to contribute in whatever they could to provide a helping hand to our Overseas Filipinos by providing them the necessary support they most need to reintegrate and succeed in their chosen investments and/or business endeavors.
Balikabayanihan call for partnership by government agencies, local government units, development agencies, civil society organizations and the private sector to look into the plight of the OFWs by providing the needed resources – manpower and funds and/ or mobilizing their volunteer network to serve as mentors to the OFWs.
B. Goal and Objectives
The overall goal is to provide OFWs and their families with sustainable livelihood opportunities in the country.
Specifically Balikabayanihan aims to:
1. Engage the support and participation of the National and Local Government in the Balikabayanihan by mapping and providing access to their services that can assist in their reintegration;
2. Mobilize technical assistance from civil society organizations, Overseas Filipino organizations, development agencies, and private organizations to provide access to capital, market, training and other consultancy services to help OFWs and families start, scale up or re-strategize their business; and
3. Provide a one-stop reintegration portal for all the reintegration services of for OFWs at the national and local level.
C. Implementation Mechanism
Principles in Implementing Balikabayanihan
To ensure that the initiative contributes to the overall goal of reintegration, the following principles are adopted:
• Integrated approach. The initiative shall combine social and economic interventions in addressing the concerns of the OFWs. As such, partnerships with various sectors shall be pursued so that the OFWs will be referred to a mix of interventions;
• Multi-stakeholder Consultation and Participation. It shall involve national and local government, OFW organizations, NGOs, faith based organizations, private sector and other migration stakeholders working on migration and development initiatives in all the stages of the campaign;
• Gender Responsive. Mainstreams gender equality, gender sensitivity, need for shared responsibility in all information and training program among OFWs, families and migration stakeholders. To the extent possible, data shall be sex-disaggregated to allow gender analysis in all the phases of the campaign implementation.
• Rights Based. Protect the welfare of OFWs and empowers them and their families as partners in migration and development initiatives.
• Development Oriented. Interventions contribute to the sustainable development of the migrants, their families and communities. Reintegration program is linked with the development strategy of the provinces and regions where OFWs came from. It supports OFW owned cooperatives and social enterprises.
Estrella Mai Dizon Anonuevo
Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiatives Inc
Kenneth C. Siruelo
Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA)
OWWA-National Reintegration Center for OFWs