(Photo courtesy of PH Embassy in Lebanon Facebook)

MANILA – A one-stop-shop for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families will open soon within the Quezon City hall compound.

The city government on Monday inked a partnership with the International Labor Organization (ILO) for the establishment of the Migrants Resource Center (MRC) that is expected to boost migration and development governance, program implementation, and service delivery.

The program will be funded by the European Union under its Safe and Fair Programme, which aims to strengthen labor migration governance and address risks inherent in migration systems that can result in violence and trafficking and strengthen rights-based and gender-responsive approaches to violence against women.

“We are elated about this partnership as this means, finally, the implementation of our existing ordinance that pushes for the creation of an MRC. From then until now, our goal is to honor our OFWs by taking action and leading them to a future where they will be met with a positive, profitable, and successful cross-border journey,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said during the signing at the city hall.

City Ordinance SP 2500 or An Ordinance creating the Quezon City Migrants Resource Center was passed in 2016 when Belmonte was still vice mayor.

Under the ordinance, the MRC will cater to all types of migrants -- permanent, temporary and undocumented -- and will provide assessment and referral services, local employment facilitation, psycho-social first aid, and relevant information on migration through a help desk.

Case handling and legal aid services will also be made available as well as reintegration services such as livelihood skills training, re-skilling, and re-tooling for returning OFWs and their families.

Khalid Hassan, director of the ILO Country Office in the Philippines, said the MRC is a landmark step for OFWs, especially since Quezon City is one of the top places of origin of migrant workers in Metro Manila.

“We affirm the technical partnership with Quezon City on MRC on the following components: improving gender-responsive service delivery and coordination mechanisms; enhancing local data collection and management; capacity-building for migration stakeholders including service providers, OFWs, families, communities, OFW groups and networks; strengthening migrant groups and networks; and increasing public awareness on labor migration and MRC,” Hassan said.

Gender-sensitive activities for migrant women will be developed with the Public Employment Services Office (PESO).

“This time, we are implementing at the local level some of the key functions of the national government, and we are filling critical gap areas in policy and program implementation and service provision,” Rogelio Reyes, PESO manager, said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority said that as of 2020, almost 60 percent of the over 1.77 million OFWs are women.

More than 75 percent of OFWs work in lower-paid, more hazardous jobs like domestic work, clerical, sales, services or factory, and manufacturing jobs predominantly dominated by women. (PNA)