DFA, UN launch BRIDGE program to address COVID-19 impact to OFWs
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the United Nations (UN) on Wednesday kicked off a program that aims to address the impact of COVID-19 on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
During an online launch of the program, UN Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez said that the Bridging Recruitment to Reintegration in Migration Governance (BRIDGE) seeks to “equip and strengthen the approach by government and civil society towards effective reintegration frameworks and services that are tailored to the COVID-19 context, mindful of its particular impacts on women and men migrants.”
Citing the impact of the pandemic to OFWs, Gonzales noted that large scale job losses have led to the mass return of Filipino migrant workers to the Philippines.
The government said that as of December 11, more than 300,000 OFWs have been repatriated since the pandemic started.
Anchored on the Global Compact for Migration, Gonzales said the BRIDGE program aims to “support the government in promoting fair and ethical recruitment, and in ensuring that returning OFWs are able to successfully reintegrate through an approach that puts migrants at the center, addresses challenges to women, in particular, mobilizes all government actors, and is inclusive of all stakeholders.”
“It will also reinforce the government’s programs to ensure that evidence and good practice pertaining to all aspects of migration is at the heart of migration policy,” he added.
DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. expressed full support for the program, saying that migration governance “remains a working progress” in the Philippines.
“I’m honored to join you in the launching of the BRIDGE program to celebrate once again a strong partnership in bringing forward decency in the migration process and not just for our 10 million overseas Filipino but all migrants from anywhere, going to everywhere else,” Locsin said.
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