By Kristine Gadiano, Davao Today intern

DAVAO CITY – A nongovernmental organization catering to migrant workers wanted the city government to act fast on the establishment of an OFW center here.

Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions Executive Director Inorisa Elento said in a press conference Monday that the establishment of the OFW center is provided under the  Davao City Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Ordinance which must be given “more priority”.

Davao City Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) Ordinance 056-08, also known as the OFW Center Ordinance seeks to help and give assistance to OFWs and to their families.

Elento said the ordinance has not yet taken effect since it was approved on April 11, 2008 because there is no clear statistics on the number of documented and also undocumented overseas workers here in Davao City.

She also added that the city government, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Association (POEA), who are responsible for the welfare of the OFWs and their dependents, do not have a record on the number of overseas workers.

“Importante man gud kining mga datos. It will translate to budget, projects and services para sa atong mga OFW og hinaot pud unta na sa pagkuha sa datos, dili lang kung kinsa tung nilakaw, apil pud nato kwaon ang mga datos sa mga bata, sa mga pamilya, nga pila pagyud kabuok ang mga OFWs sa Davao City nga mga minyo ug naay mga anak (Data are important since this will translate into budget, projects and services for the OFWs. I hope that the data gathered next time will be more specific about the children and their families),” Elento added.

Elento said when they met with the sub-committee on Migration and Development previously, it was where they found out that they have no clear data at hand for OFWs in Davao City.

“Kung naa may mga na-avail na serbisyo atong mga OFW, dili kini tungod sa ordinansya, tungod ni kay gipa-facilitate nato sa CSSDO sa ubang ahensya sa gobyerno (The services availed by the OFWs came from the CSSDO and other government agencies, not because of the ordinance),” she added.

Elento said that because of too many requisites for the implementation of the ordinance, it is hard for them to provide the services to the OFWs and to their families.

Elento said that the center will focus on the concerns of the OFWs, returned OFWs, their families and distressed workers.

She also said there is a need for more activities for OFWs including the commemoration of the International Migrants’ Day.

“In fact, there was a resolution approved by the Sangguniang Panglungsod to recognize OFW month and this is the International Migrants’ Day every December 18,” said Elento.

Elento said the ordinance has a proposed allocation of P2 million to fund the staff who will handle the programs and services of the center.

However, the City Council has already approved on third and final reading the P6.315 billion budget for next year and the budget for the OFW center was not included on the budget allocation. (

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