By Freddie Lazaro

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union — The Region 1 Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) honored House Deputy Speaker Eric D. Singson and 15 other officials and ex- overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during the observance of the 23rd Migrant Workers Day on Thursday here.

Gerardo Rimorin, officer-in-charge of the OWWA Region 1, said that Congressman Singson received recognition for his effort in championing OFWs welfare promotion in the province of Ilocos Sur and nearby provinces.

Singson pioneered the establishment of the OFW One Stop Shop Services in Candon City Hall that has been vigorously operational from September 2013 up to present. This brainchild of Congressman Singson has become a benchmark in the establishment of other OFW One Stop Shop Services nationwide.

The other awardees were: Candon City Mayor Ericson G. Singson, ex- OFW Isabel Tabuso of Santa Cruz, Ilocos Sur; ex-OFWs Rodel Almogera (Pasuquin town), Rosemarie Bareng (Dingras) and Lenilda Raguindin (Currimao) – all in Ilocos Norte; Bacnotan Mayor Francisco Angelito Fontanilla, Bauang Mayor Eulogio Clarence Martin De Guzman III, Agoo Mayor Staphanie Y Eriguel, Provincial Board Member Francisco Paolo P. Ortega V, and DFA Region 1 OIC Estelita Casuga- all in La Union; and ex-OFW Pastor Esmeraldo Agustin Sr (Rosales), Tayug Mayor Tyrone Agabas, Rosales Mayor Susan Pagador-Casareno, Dagupan City Mayor Belen T. Fernandez, and Alex M. Ferrer of PESO, all in Pangasinan.

Rimorin said the Migrant Workers Day is an annual celebration commemorating the signing of the Republic Act (RA) 8042 otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.

“During the observance of the Migrant Day in Region 1, we give recognition to ex-OFWs and officials, who extended exemplary programs in promoting the protection of the welfares of the OFWs and their families in the Ilocos region,” said Rimorin.

“This year’s Migrant Workers Day is anchored on the theme: “Kabuhayan at Teknolohiya Para sa OFWs at Pamilya,” said Rimorin.

On June 7, 1995, then President Fidel V. Ramos signed the law to institute the policies of overseas employment and establish a higher standard of protection and promotion of the welfare of migrant workers, their families and overseas Filipinos in distress.

OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, in a press statement, described the migrant day as the day of the country’s “new heroes.”

Cacdac said that this year’s migrant day celebration has a theme on livelihood for OFWs and their families, as this is one of the top priority programs of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

“The OWWA is also spearheading the three Ms or Magplano (plan), Mag-impok (save) and Mamuhunan (invest) for sustainable growth for full reintegration of the OFWs to further ensure the income generating activity of returning OFWs while staying in the country,” said Cacdac.

The OWWA is also advocating to every Filipino the importance of responsible use of communication technology like the social media to help strengthen the family ties of the OFWs.

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