HELPING MIGRANT WORKERS. A staff of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) answers queries from a family member of an overseas worker during a caravan in Maasin City, Southern Leyte on Sept. 20, 2022. OWWA is pushing for the establishment of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) help desks in all villages in Eastern Visayas within the year. (OWWA Southern Leyte photo)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is pushing for the establishment of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) help desks in all villages in Eastern Visayas within the year.

OWWA Eastern Visayas regional head Evangelina Filamor said on Wednesday they have drafted the memorandum of agreement for the signing of local government officials before the year ends.

“Since we have OFWs in the region, we have to strengthen the provision of necessary assistance to them down to the village level," Filamor said in an interview.

Village officials will be trained on how to deal with OFW concerns and link with government agencies.

Gerald Tan, National Reintegration Center for OFWs director, said Eastern Visayas is the next priority following the signing of agreements with local officials in Regions 11 (Davao Region) and 12 (Soccsksargen) for the setting up of village-level help desk.

“The board sees the need to saturate up to village level since recruitment happens in villages. We saw the wisdom to start in villages since it’s easier to gather details in communities,” Tan said after the reintegration caravan in the region.

Currently, OFW help desks are established in cities and capital towns in Eastern Visayas in office spaces provided by local governments.

Eastern Visayas has recorded 550,572 OFWs, almost doubling the number in the past five years, according to OWWA.

The number has been consistently increasing every year as more workers hunt for high-paying jobs abroad to support their families. (PNA)