Ateneo OF-LIFE Program Signs MOC with DMW

Last National Migrant Workers’ Day, June 7, 2023, Ateneo de Manila University signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) in support of the Overseas Filipinos’ Leadership, Innovation, Financial Literacy and Social Entrepreneurship (ALSE OF-LIFE) Program being undertaken by the university   The ALSE OF-LIFE Program, initiated in 2008, under the School of Government (ASOG) provides training programs for overseas Filipinos and their families on enhancing their leadership, financial literacy and social innovation/social entrepreneurship skills. The program is undertaken in collaboration with the Social Enterprise Development Partnerships, Inc,  a training and capacity-building organization focused on microfinance and social enterprise, UGAT Foundation, a Jesuit organization focusing on family wellbeing and the OFSPES, Overseas Filipinos’ Society for the Promotion of Economic Security a non-profit organization focusing on migrant issues. Rev Fr Roberto “Bobby” Yap, University president, and Hon Maria Susana “Toots” Ople, DMW, were the main signatories of the MOC. 

 

The ALSE OF-LIFE capability-building program, now in 32 countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America,  helps OFWs and their families to better prepare for their reintegration back into the Philippines, especially for their retirement.

 

The ALSE OF-LIFE Program partnership agreement with DMW began in January 2023 with meetings with officials from the DMW’s National Centre on Reintegration for OFWs. The MOC strengthens and formalizes the long-standing collaboration with various agencies of the national government related to assisting overseas Filipinos (or OFs), including the Department of Foreign Affairs, through various Philippine consulates and embassies around the world, the various Philippine Overseas Labour Offices abroad, the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Agency (OWWA), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

 

The MOC requires the DMW to undertake the following responsibilities in support of the OF-LIFE program:

  • Dissemination of information on the OF-LIFE program to the Filipino community through embassies and consulates’ social media channels, posters and information announcements to encourage OFWs to attend the course;
  • Assistance in the promotion of the program to potential students;
  • Refer to the  ALSE OF-LIFE OFW graduates interested in starting their own business sources of financial assistance that government provides to returning migrants (such as those provided by the  OWWA) which they could avail of; and,
  • Provide other support services and interventions as maybe mutually agreed upon.

In turn, the Ateneo de Manila University would be required to undertake the following:

  • Inform the DMW-NRCO Welfare Officer on site, if present, of the provisional program schedules of the OF-LIFE training program in their respective countries;
  • Explore the possible use of venues provided by the DMW for the training workshops; 
  • Inform DMW-NRCO of the areas of participation of the DMW Welfare Officer, including the following: (a) opening of training program, (b) mentoring of students on business plans; and (c) serve as panelist on business plan presentations, and (d) graduation ceremony;
  • Provide DMW-NRCO with data on the number of trainees, mentees, and/or outcome of monitoring evaluation results;
  • Allow the DMW to promote the training programs to the OFWs and families including awareness initiatives; and,
  • Provide other support services and interventions as may be mutually agreed upon.
  • During the same event, the DMW signed several agreements with various government agencies and private sector groups, including the following: with the DTI for registration of businesses and access to the business training and development programs; with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) can  encourage OFWs to join business cooperatives; with civil society organizations (CSOs) to seek to provide mentoring and counselling services for OFWs, and  pre-migration orientation seminars; and, with private sector groups for financial literacy programs and  skills training programs, specifically for construction workers.
  • These partnerships are a welcome development for OFWs who are looking to start their own businesses. The government as well as the other partners’ support can help OFWs and their families overcome the challenges of entrepreneurship and build successful businesses that can contribute to the Philippine economy, particularly at the local level.
  • Through a whole-of-society approach, it is hoped that these initiatives will help OFWs achieve their dreams of entrepreneurship and build a better future for themselves, their families, their communities, and the Philippines.

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