By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has set her sight on beefing up the city’s Migrant Resource Center (MRC) to complement the planned creation of the Department of Overseas Filipinos (DOF) as pushed by President Duterte.
During his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, the President has called on the creation of the said department to cater to the pressing needs of the Filipino migrant workers.
Belmonte has vowed to strengthen the city’s MRC to provide the much-needed assistance to the overseas Filipino workers.
Recently, Belmonte had showcased the city’s MRC during the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) meeting in New York.
“Kailangan pang pag-ibayuhin ang kakayahan ng MRC sa harap ng mga dumaraming hamon na kinakaharap ng ating migrant workers, lalo na iyong naghahanapbuhay sa ibang bansa, (There is an urgent need to strengthen the MRC in the face of daunting challenges faced by the migrant workers especially those who are working abroad),” said Belmonte, the lone mayor invited by the MMC from the Philippines and whole of Asia.
During his fourth SONA, President Duterte renewed his call for the establishment of the Department of Overseas Filipinos to ensure the welfare and protection of migrant workers.
While the MRC is now running, Belmonte said it needs additional manpower and financial resources for it to fully perform its functions, duties and responsibilities for migrant workers.
“This will ensure that social and economic services are made available to Filipino migrants and their families, such as financial literacy and investment opportunities for returning migrants,” said Belmonte.
Belmonte underscored the importance of financial literacy for returning OFWs, saying it will help them plan and save for a possible business venture or any other livelihood opportunity so they won’t have to leave their families again to look for employment.
Aside from providing financial literacy and investment opportunities, the MRC can also help returning Filipino workers in distress.
Belmonte recently showcased the city’s MRC during the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) meeting in New York, where she was the only mayor invited from the Philippines and whole of Asia.
In her speech, Belmonte said the city established MRC after seeing the need for an office that will oversee the influx of migrant workers, who comprise around 10 percent of the city’s population and see Quezon City as a springboard for job and other livelihood opportunities.
The MRC became a reality in 2016 through City Ordinance 2500, which was passed during Belmonte’s time as Vice Mayor and presiding officer of the QC Council.
Designed to cater to the needs of all types of migrants, permanent, temporary, and undocumented, the MRC provides assistance to migrant workers, including the application for overseas work, pre-departure, transit, on-site services, re-entry, return, and reintegration.