DOLE-12 opens “Assist WELL” center for OFWs

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/04 February) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 12 opened on Wednesday an integrated processing center of various assistance for repatriated and returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) from the region.

Ofelia Domingo, DOLE Region 12 director, said the center wil serve as a one-stop-shop for assistance programs being offered by DOLE and its attached agencies for OFWs and their families.

Dubbed Assist WELL (Welfare, Employment, Livelihood and Legal) processing center, she said the facility will provide reintegration assistance and services to returning and repatriated OFWs, especially those deployed in conflict-affected areas.

The processing center, which is supervised by personnel of DOLE’s National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), has been set up at the DOLE-12 compound along Mabini Extension in Koronadal City.

“The center will provide a convergence of services, focusing welfare, employment, livelihood and legal aspects,” she said during its simple launching ceremony.

Domingo was referring to the agency’s Assist WELL (welfare, employment, livelihood and legal) program, which was launched in 2015.

She said the program provides a package of services to address the pressing needs of returning and repatriated OFWs.

These include stress debriefing and counseling; local employment referral and placement; overseas employment placement; livelihood assistance; legal assistance and conciliation services; and, competency assessment and training program.

Since it was started in the region in July last year, the Assist WELL program already catered to around 50 returning and repatriated OFWs.

The assisted OFWs, most of whom availed of P10,000 worth of livelihood assistance, were previously deployed in the conflict-torn countries of Syria and Yemen.

Aside from the NRCO, Domingo said the processing center will manned by personnel from the DOLE regional office, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Technical Education Skills and Development Authority, National Conciliation and Mediation Board, Employees Compensation Commission and the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board.

She said personnel from these agencies will be assigned on a weekly basis to various desks at the processing center.

“Through the center, our OFWS are assured of immediate attention. All their needs will be catered here,” she added. (MindaNews)