BPI Professorial Chair for Migration & Overseas Filipino Work (MOFW)

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 UA&P ties up with BPI for Migration/OFW chair

The Center for Research and Communication (CRC) signed a memorandum of agreement with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Foundation, Inc., establishing the BPI Professorial Chair for Migration and Overseas Filipino Work (MOFW) on February 3, 2014 at the BPI Head Office. For three years, the holder of the professorial chair will undertake intensive research on migration and development to guide policy makers, and publish teaching resource materials on the integration of migration into the K-12 BEC subjects. – Read more

Activities on Migration and Overseas Filipino Work

Remittances as a Way toward More Equality: Dr. Ramirez Presents at EADI Nordic Conference

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Dr. Veronica Esposo Ramirez presented a paper at the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) Nordic Conference 2017 held in Bergen, Norway on August 20-23, 2017. The theme of the conference was “Globalization at the Crossroads: Rethinking Inequalities and Boundaries.”

Under the Session on International Migration, “Remittances from International Migration: a Way towards more Equality,” Dr. Ramirez discussed how remittances are used by Overseas Filipinos and their families; what remittance-related activities are undertaken by private-public agencies; and the ways through which remittances can benefit the community and support national development.

Based on her study, Dr. Ramirez made the following conclusions: (a) Remittances are affected by the disruption in money-transfer infrastructure: e.g., the closure of banks due to anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism acts has forced banks and money transfer operators to increase the cost of remittances. (b) Although there have been some community initiatives to organize remittance-based activities, these are not part of the regional plan. Thus, they cannot reach areas that need them the most and sustainability is not achieved. (c) There is lack of monitoring and evaluation of remittance-related activities. (d) There are no policies that can channel remittances into engines of community development to contribute to economic growth. (e) Remittance-related activities have to be translated not only into livelihood activities but also investments and employment that can spur development and growth. Finally, (f) consumer activities should be examined to create multiplier effects that can reach areas that need them most.

Dr. Ramirez’s participation in the conference was made possible through the support of the EADI Nordic Conference Organizer and the BPI Professorial Chair for Migration and Overseas Filipino Work, of which she is the Holder.

Associations of OFW Recruitment Agencies recognize OFW work of Dr. Veronica Esposo Ramirez

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Four Associations of OFW Recruitment Agencies: the Philippine Association of Agencies Accredited to Oman (PAAAO), Association of Manpower Agencies for Brunei – Philippines (AMBRUPHIL), Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for Jordan (PAMAJOR), and Philippine Association of Agencies for Kuwait (PHILAAK) awarded  Veronica Esposo Ramirez, Ph.D. a Plaque of Appreciation  “for her steadfast dedication and unwavering commitment to the continuous development of the Philippine Recruitment Industry, resulting to the enhanced welfare and protection of our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).”

The recognition was made at the Fund Raising event for the July 6, 2017 Leyte earthquake victims held at Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant, Intramuros on August 4. At the same occasion, DOLE Secretary Bello officiated the Oath taking of the Associations’ Board of Trustees and presidents: Roland M. Collado (PAAAO), Mila Abuhussien (PAMAJOR), Mary Mei Victorino (AMBRUPHIL) and Imelda Enriquez (PRAASA).

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UA&P Activities on Overseas Filipino Work

In October 2010, Mr. Alfredo Palmiery met with Drs. Bernardo Villegas and Veronica Ramirez of the Center for Research and Communication to discuss ways of reforming policies on overseas domestic work. On December 4, 2010, licensed private recruitment agencies were convened at the seminar entitled, “Towards Rationalization of the Domestic Workers Overseas Employment Industry” with speakers Sec. Rosalinda Dimapiliz-Baldoz, Alfredo Palmiery, Bernardo M. Villegas, Ph.D, Loreto B. Soriano, Nanette Dungo, Ph.D., Clement Camposano, Ph.D. and Veronica Ramirez, Ph.D.  It was at this seminar where the Coalition of Licensed Agencies for Domestic and Service Workers, Inc. (CLADS) was founded through the initiative of Alfredo Palmiery.

In its commitment to the effective management of overseas migration and enhancement of workers’ protection, CRC-UA&P organized the OFW conference, “A Second Look at the Overseas Employment Program” held on March 30, 2012. The conference involved Hon. Jejomar C. Binay, Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, Hon. Rosalinda Baldoz  Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, Hon. Carmelita S. Dimzon, Administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Ms. Susan V. Ople of the Blas F. Ople  Policy  Institute  and Training Institute. Hon.  Patricia A. Sto. Tomas, former POEA Administrator and DOLE Secretary; POEA Administrator Atty. Hans Leo J. Cacdac; Dr. Trinidad S. Osteria of Yuchengco Center, Dir. Maria Luisa S. Reyes of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Mr. Loreto B. Soriano, CEO-Chairman of LBS Recruitment Solutions Corp., Mr. Ericson M. Marquez, Former Director of the Filipino Association for Mariners’ Employment, Mr. Alfredo P. Palmiery of the Federated Associations of Manpower Exporters, Inc. (FEDAMANEX), Mr. Luther Z. Calderon, president of Kabalikat ng Migranteng Pilipino, Inc. (KAMPI) and Ms. Aurora J. de Dios of Miriam College Women and Gender Institute.

In 2013, UA&P published the book Working Overseas: Diaspora that Sustains the Nation, edited by Dr. Ramirez, a book set of six on different topics of migration and overseas work.

On August 1 and 2, 2014, CRC-UA&P was asked by CLADS president Amanda Araneta and Board of Directors to facilitate the seminar-workshop entitled,Care and Excellence in Overseas HSW Management and Development,” which sought to (a) Review of the current Policies, Processes and Practices pertinent to overseas HSW; (b) Conduct rapid appraisal through stakeholders’ evaluation  of  the  HSW policies, processes or practices; and (c) Propose continuing reforms that can effectively respond to the evolving realities in HSW deployment for consideration of government and key stakeholders in migration management. Focus Group Discussions were conducted to evaluate the relevance, performance and effectiveness of policies, processes and practices in light of international migration development guidelines, with integral human development in mind. The output, “A Proposal for Action and Continuing Reforms of Overseas HSW Management and Development” was submitted to then Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and to Atty. Hans Leo Cacdac, then Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The Professorial Chair for Migration and Overseas Filipino Work (MOFW)

It was in 2014 when the Bank of Philippine Islands Foundation, Inc. established the Professorial Chair for Migration and Overseas Filipino Work (MOFW) as a philanthropic endeavor. UA&P chose Veronica Esposo Ramirez, Ph.D to be the first Professorial Chair Holder.  Under the Professorial Chair, Dr. Ramirez actively organizes round table discussions and forums on issues concerning overseas Filipino work and conducts research and policy studies relevant to migration management and development.

In the first quarter of 2017, the conference, “Responsible OFW Recruitment: Towards Protection and Welfare” and the forum, “No Placement Fee Policy: Implications to Migration Industry” were organized under the Professorial Chair. In March, Ms. Amanda Araneta, President of PHILAAK, together with the members of its Board of Trustees, invited Dr. Ramirez to join the Goodwill Mission to Kuwait for documentation and reporting, which was disseminated to government agencies of Kuwait and the Philippines, likewise to migration key stakeholders.

In its commitment to the national goals of effective management of overseas migration and enhancement of workers’ protection, CRC-UA&P, together with its partners from government, private recruitment agencies, business, academe, NGOs and various agencies, will continue to work towards the improvement of the state of overseas Filipino work, and more importantly, promote protection and welfare.

Protecting OFWs through Responsible Recruitment

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True to its objectives of researching policy issues invested with the common good, and transmitting its findings to spread a deeper sense of social responsibility, CRC held a conference entitled Responsible OFW Recruitment: Towards Protection and Welfare on March 15, 2017 in the University of Asia and the Pacific.

Professorial Chair Holder for Migration and Overseas Filipino Work, Dr. Veronica Ramirez, gathered members of  the Philippine Association for Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI), the Philippine Association of Agencies for Kuwait (PHILAAK), and the Coalition for Licensed Agencies Deploying Domestic and Service Workers (CLADS) in a one-day conference on current practices and policies on OFW recruitment in the Philippines.

Dr. Bernardo Villegas, in his welcome remarks, recognized that by processing the deployment of OFWs, licensed recruitment agencies help Filipino families increase their income so that they can provide for their basic needs, send their children to school, and fund their medical needs. They also upgrade their own skills and for some, start saving and investing. He reminded the participants not only to deal with day-to-day operations, but also to care about the integral human development of OFWs. He mentioned that Dr. Ramirez has been with them in many of their endeavors for excellence in recruitment service, the most recent of which was the goodwill mission to Kuwait from March 3 to 8, 2017.

(Left to right) ILO's Hussein Macarambon, POEA Director Robert Larga, and Roland Collado

(Left to right) ILO’s Hussein Macarambon, POEA Director Robert Larga, and Roland Collado

Mr. Hussein Macarambon, ILO national project coordinator for the Integrated Programme on Fair Recruitment (FAIR), presented the 13 principles of Fair Recruitment which include workers’ agreements to the terms and conditions of recruitment, and employment that should be voluntary and free from deception or coercion.

POEA Deputy Administrator Robert Larga discussed government-to-government placement of workers in countries like Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, and UAE. Among the challenges that he pointed out were the long waiting period of deployment for countries with preparatory language training requirements, and the lack of adequate facilities for workers’ accommodations during training.

Mr. Roland Collado, Vice Chairman of PHILAAK presented the concept of Recruitment Welfare Management, which aims to enable front-line employees of private recruitment agencies to develop knowledge and skills towards timely, proper, and effective management of critical welfare issues, thus a move to professionalize the recruitment industry.

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(Left to right) Luther Calderon and Lito Soriano with Dr. Ramirez

Mr. Luther Calderon, president of Kabalilkat ng Migranteng Pilipino (KAMPI), discussed different activities for corporate social responsibility in the recruitment industry. To give more meaning to the acronym CSR, he referred to it as “Commit a little time to Spread our goodness and Reach out to those in need.” Among the benefits of CSR he mentioned were enhanced relationships with stakeholders; enhanced influence in the industry; and attraction, retention, and maintenance of a happy workforce.

In her presentation, Dr. Veronica Ramirez identified the common health problems of overseas household service workers (HSWs), which include musculoskeletal strain, injury, and body pains resulting from a variety of tasks, long hours of work, lack of rest and days off, and in some cases, poor accommodations.  HSWs opt for self-medication or putting off medical problems until they get very sick because there is strong fear of being terminated due to illness. To address these issues, Dr. Ramirez recommended a wellness program that includes awareness sessions on preventive health services, occupational ergonomics, safety and health, work and leisure balance, and other topics.

Mr. Loreto Soriano, president of LBS Recruitment Solutions Corp., assessed the impact of the No Placement Fee Policy on overseas domestic work. When the job seeker does not pay a placement fee, there is an increase in the hiring cost on the part of the foreign employer, and this has a profound impact on the employers, the deployed domestic workers (DWs), and the recruitment industry as a whole.  Compared to the Middle East, the 2006 Domestic Workers Reform Package failed to compel employers in Asia to pay for the cost of recruitment and the services of both foreign and Philippine recruitment agencies. In effect, DWs have continued to pay placement fees. Therefore, the 2006 Reform package incentivized the deployment of DWs to Gulf Cooperation Council countries, where their salaries have increased and where they do not pay placement fees.

The Bank of the Philippine Islands, grantor of the Professorial Chair on Migration and Overseas Filipino Work, presented their programs for land-based and sea-based OFWs, to increase the benefits of remittances for their families left behind. Mr. Bansan Choa and iRemit personnel also attended the conference and showed support through gift-giving activities.

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Former USec. Susan Ople of the Blas Ople Policy Center and Training Institute

After the presentations and activities, participants from licensed recruitment agencies felt that as a university and as a research center, UA&P and CRC continue to work with them towards the protection and welfare of OFWs.

Research on No Placement Fee Policy presented to key stakeholders in the Recruitment Industry

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The CRC Study on “NO PLACEMENT FEE Policy: Implications to Philippine Migration Industry” was presented by Dr. Veronica E. Ramirez to key stakeholders in the recruitment industry on March 28, 2017 at the University of Asia and the Pacific. The study was completed in May 2016 by Dr. Ramirez and teammates Atty. Jeremy Gatdula and Mr. Greg Mabbagu.

The forum was opened by Mr. Loreto Soriano, who described the current situation of OFWs. Participants were members of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc., (PASEI), Australia and New Zealand Association of Employment Providers of the Philippines (ANZAEPP), Japan Employment Providers of the Philippines and Consultants’ Association (JEPPCA), Pilipino Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan, Inc. (PILMAT), Keys Placement, Inc., Grand Placement, LBS Recruitment Solutions, and EyeQuest International Manpower Services, Inc.

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The Association for Professionalism in Overseas Employment, Inc. (ASPROE), headed by Mr. Rene Cristobal with Mr. Angelito Hernandez, president of Industrial Personnel and Management Services (IPAMS), participated actively in the forum moderated by Ms. Nora Braganza and Mr. Russel Garcia.

Mr. Jesus Noel Litan, president of ANZAEPP, emphasized, “There is a wealth of information included in the study that we can use. We can share the study for whatever purpose it may serve for the future of this industry.”

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Dr. Veronica Ramirez Joins PHILAAK Goodwill Mission to Kuwait

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The Philippine Association of Agencies to Kuwait (PHILAAK), completed its Goodwill Mission to Kuwait last March 4 to 8. The objective of the Mission was to discuss ways of promoting OFW protection and welfare in Kuwait.

The Association, together with former Kuwait Labor Attaché Atty. Angelo Jimenez, Dr. Veronica Esposo Ramirez of the University of Asia and the Pacific and the officers of the Coalition for Licensed Agencies Deploying Domestic and Service Workers (CLADS), was welcomed warmly by the Filipino Community as well as the different Kuwait offices that were visited.

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Dr. Veronica Ramirez

On March 4, there were fruitful dialogues with the officers and members of the strong Filipino Association of Secretaries of Employment Agencies in Kuwait (FILSEAK), as well as with the representatives of the Filipino Community (FILCOM) and media. It was overwhelming how the associations assured each other of collaborative work towards systematic and effective management of OFW work in Kuwait.

PHILAAK also made official visits to the office of Honorable Labor Attaché Padaen and His Excellency Renato Villa, Ambassador of the Philippines to the State of Kuwait.  Together with Ambassador Villa, a visit was made to the Kuwait Parliament. Labor Attaché Padaen was also with the PHILAAK in their visit to the General Administration for Residency Affairs Investigation.

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Amb. Renato Villa

The mission culminated with the Welfare Management Program  (WMP) for  Foreign Recruitment Agency owners and their Secretaries on March 6, which was attended by 350 participants. It can be recalled that two successful WMP seminars were conducted in the Philippines on August 19, 2015 and October 6, 2016.

The outputs of the Mission will guide concrete steps towards the protection and welfare of OFWs in Kuwait.

Not just an association of recruitment agencies, PHILAAK is a service-oriented association that serves Overseas Filipino Workers, recruitment personnel and management for Kuwait employment. By facilitating personal and professional development activities, it encourages them towards excellent overseas work.

UA&P Research Team Vists Philippine Transmarine Carriers

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From the PTC Group Waves official e-bulletin, 13(2), February 2017

A research team from the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) conducting a study on the Philippine maritime industry visited PTC on February 1, 2017 to meet with PTC CEO Gerardo Borromeo, PTC Senior Executive Director for Government Affairs Ronald SJ Enrile and other resource persons from the organization. The research team, comprised of UA&P professors of different disciplines, aims to gain a deeper understanding of the maritime industry intended for their research. The results of this collaboration will serve as the basis for relevant policy formulation necessary in the realization of the Blue Philippines Framework.

PACUCOA 2016 Best Research Award: Migrant Education in Philippine HEIs

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Availment and Utilization of OFW Reintegration Loans

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Common Health Problems of Filipino Overseas HSWs

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NO PLACEMENT FEE Policy Study

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Dr. Veronica Ramirez - Other Activities

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Dr. Veronica Ramirez Presents Migration Research in Mexico

Dr. Veronica Ramirez presented two research papers on entitled, “Maximizing Remittances to the Philippines towards Integral Human Development” and “Foreign Students in Philippine Education: Trends and Challenges.” This was at the 2015 International Metropolis Conference in Mexico City on Sept. 8 and 9, 2015 – Read more

Exploring Research Priorities on Overseas Filipinos’ Life and Work in the Middle East

Despite the growing number of OFWs in the Middle East, minimal research has been conducted on their life and work; their families left behind; and the different phases of overseas work from pre-departure to reintegration. In addition, priority research topics have not yet been identified, while psychological difficulties among OFW children, relational troubles among spouses, and problems with savings call for evidence-based interventions. – Read more

Life Beyond Retirement: A Round Table Discussion on Retirement in the Philippines

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Attracting more foreign long-stay tourists to the Philippines is a lucrative industry, yet there is a need to truly understand their concerns: How do they want to spend their “second youth”? What dreams do they want to fulfill? This will broaden the retirement industry’s perspective from profit generation to better understanding retirees as persons – Read more

Social Enterprise: Promoting Effective OFW Reintegration

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Stakeholders from government, migration and social enterprise came together to discuss opportunities for the productivity and livelihood of OFW returnees, such as investment prospects, livelihood programs, and opportunities in housing, transportation franchising, small businesses in the energy sector, and agribusiness. – Read more

Dr. Veronica Ramirez Completes Training in Migration and Integration in Canada

Dr. Veronica Ramirez is now an alumna of Metropolis Professional Development (MPD) as she has completed the Training Programme for Migration and Integration Professionals held at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada from June 23 to 28, 2014. The training was sponsored by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). – Read more

Metropolis Professional Development (MPD) Video

This video provides a broad overview of the Metropolis Professional Development training program and what participants can expect. For more information and to register please see http://carleton.ca/metropolis

Strengthening Maritime Education: Issues and Strategies Round Table Discussion

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Representatives of select maritime institutions, the PACUCOA, and government agencies discussed improvements to maritime education, in light of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) audit. Areas for action that emerged included institutional management, maritime education in the K-12 curriculum, and the advantages of program accreditation. – Read more

The Maritime Industry’s Role in the Promotion of Integral Human Development

The maritime industry plays a vital role in the country’s economic development. However, while seafarers are deployed for months, who takes care of their families? Is the topic “family” integrated in the curriculum of maritime training?  How do private shipping firms promote family welfare, and what are the implications of these initiatives to nation building and integral human development? – Read more

“Working Overseas: Diaspora that Sustains the Nation” Book Launch
The authors and Hon. Patricia Sto. Tomas

“The overseas Filipino worker fuels much of our economy. We have to take a longer-term look at what it means for our workers to leave families behind. We should all prepare both the OFW and the family right here in the Philippines. In the end, it is the nation that should help the diaspora”–former DOLE Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas. – Read more

The OFW Conference: A Second Look at the Overseas Employment Program

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Government officials and OFW stakeholders came together to discuss means to effectively manage overseas migration and enhance workers’ protection, such as plans for the Overseas Employment Program, workers’ welfare initiatives, reintegration programs, and partnerships to assist OFWs between the private and government sectors. – Read more

The Phenomenon of Migration

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This round table discussion focused on the status of overseas work in the maritime, health services, and domestic work sectors. Participants noted the need for substantial laws to better serve overseas workers and their families, to regulate recruitment agencies, and to protect OFW remittances, vis-a-vis challenges in education and governance. – Read more