Type of practice: Education and orientation
Name of Stakeholder: Government of the Philippines, Microsoft Philippines
Type of Stakeholder Implementing the Practice: State of Origin, Private Sector
Type of crisis: Conflict, Natural Disaster
Crisis phase: Crisis Preparedness
Related Links: OWWA Benefits for Overseas Filipino
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) have launched, in partnership with Microsoft Philippines, the Tulay or Bridge Education. OWWA Computer Training for Oversea Filipino Workers (OFWs) aims to provide OFWs Information Technology (IT) training and access to technology that will enable them and their families to communicate through the internet. The Tulay or Bridge Education Program is a part of Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential (UP), a global initiative aimed at providing technology and skills for individuals. OFWs and their families learn the basics of computer applications such as MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel as well as internet and e-mail use at the Community Technology Learning Centers (CTLC). Through Tulay, the OWWA Computer Training aims to gain IT skills that will enhance their work, thus increasing their value in the workplace. These new IT skills can further help them become more competitive in pursuing a career in the country upon their return. The OWWA Computer Training for OFWs also aims to address the primary issue of family disintegration. It is hoped that through the project, problems arising from OFWs’ prolonged separation from their families will be greatly minimized and as it mitigates the social impact of being away from home because of the accessibility and ease of using technology to connect and communicate to loved ones at home. Different OWWA Computer training centers are provided in some key cities where OWWA is located outside the country. The CTLCs being maintained and operated by DOLE-OWWA are located at the OWWA Central Office, OWWA Satellite Office in POEA, OWWA Regional Welfare Offices as well as OWWA overseas posts in Riyadh (KSA), Hong Kong, Taichung (Taiwan), Rome and Milan (Italy).
- Empowering migrants
GUIDELINE 3: Empower migrants to help themselves, their families, and communities during and in the aftermath of crises
In order to help themselves and others and to enjoy their rights, migrants need access to identity documents, basic public services, and financial and other resources. Migrants’ ability to help themselves and enjoy their rights can be undermined by factors related to their entry and stay, means of arrival, connections to local populations, and conditions in the host State, including in workplaces. These factors can in turn undermine emergency response and recovery efforts.
States, private sector actors, international organizations, and civil society can promote migrants’ resilience and empower migrants to help themselves during and after a crisis by addressing underlying conditions of vulnerability. Respecting, protecting, and fulfilling migrants' human and labor rights in ordinary times advance these goals as do efforts to ensure migrants are able to access information, basic services, and administrative, judicial, and other redress mechanisms.
Legal, policy, and operational factors that constrain protection should be addressed. Examples of obstacles include laws, policies, and practical barriers that arbitrarily restrict the movement of migrants, enable arbitrary detention, discriminate between migrants and citizens in the provision of humanitarian assistance, or permit exploitative employment or recruitment practices.
In times of crisis, fear of immigration enforcement can inhibit migrants, particularly those in an irregular immigration status, from accessing necessary help. In this context, it is important to separate immigration enforcement actions from those that promote migrants’ access to services, humanitarian assistance, identity documents, and movement.
Stakeholders can provide migrants—prior to departure from the State of origin, upon arrival in the host State, and during their stay in the host State—with pertinent information related to country-specific conflict or natural disaster hotspots, rights and potential rights violations or abuses, ways to access timely, credible, and regular information, emergency contact points, and what to do and where to go in the event of a crisis. Building migrants’ skills to communicate in the host-State language and increasing migrants’ financial literacy may prompt migrants to invest in savings, take out micro-insurance, and better prepare for navigating unforeseen circumstances.
- Pre-departure and post-arrival training for migrants that includes crisis-related information.
- Positive communication about migrants, including through migrant role models and campaigns to promote tolerance, non-discrimination, inclusiveness, and respect.
- Financial products, including micro-insurance, savings accounts, and fast-cash loans that target migrants’ needs, including low-income migrants.
- Measures that respect, protect, and fulfill migrants’ human and labor rights, including addressing barriers that inhibit migrants’ ability to enjoy their rights.
- Identity cards for migrants in an irregular immigration status to promote their access to services.
- Ethical recruitment processes and accreditation, and integrity certification schemes.
- Community-based alternatives to detention for migrants.