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To better protect migrant workers and curb illegal recruitment and human trafficking, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) hopes to forge more partnerships with various local government units (LGUs) in the country.

On Tuesday, the DMW, through its Migrant Workers Protection Bureau (MWPB), signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with 16 towns in Palawan for the comprehensive pre-employment orientation seminars (PEOS) for aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The municipalities of Agutaya, Araceli, Balabac, Brookes Point, Cagayancillo, El Nido, Kalayaan, Quezon, Rizal, San Vicente, Magsaysay, Cuyo, Dumaraan, Sofronio Espanola, and Taytay; and the City and Provincial PESO of Puerto Princesa have signed the MOA with the DMW.

PEOS aims to empower and protect the OFWs from unscrupulous recruiters and syndicates.

DMW Undersecretary Bernard Olalia said the MOA will enable the department to ramp up its efforts against illegal recruitment by informing future OFWs about overseas employment, covering its potential benefits, potential risks, and the legal channels for working abroad to avoid becoming victims of illegal recruiters.

An OFW Help Desk will also be established in all partner municipalities for the immediate provision of repatriation and legal assistance to OFWs and their families.

A full-cycle reintegration interventions and support to OFWs and their families will also be provided through a concerted effort between the DMW, the National Reintegration Center for OFWs, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, in cooperation with the LGUs.

For returning OFWs, included in the reintegration interventions is the provision of livelihood assistance and skills enhancement training for OFWs, to allow them to look for other employment opportunities, in case they decide to stay in the country for good.

“This convergence partnership is a shared initiative of the national and local government to empower prospective and current OFWs and their families and safeguard their welfare at the very start of their overseas employment journey,” Olalia said. (PNA)