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Manila – The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) recently collaborated with the Department of Labor and Employment’s International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) in the conduct of the 2021 Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) Planning Exercise.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) were grouped according to geographical location. The three-part event started last April 13-14 for the Asia-Pacific region and continued last April 29-30 for the Europe and Americas regions. The event will be concluded on May 14-15 for POLOs in the Middle East and Africa region.

For the Europe and Americas POLO planning exercise, ILAB Director Alice Q. Visperas led the activity as Master of Ceremonies and gave an Overview of the Activity. DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III delivered his message, which centered on directives to ensure immediate actions to assist OFWs and ensure an effective reintegration plan in line with the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS).

ILS Executive Director Ahmma Charisma Lobrin-Satumba presented the workshop guidelines and consolidated POLO inputs on Migration and Development issues/concerns/challenges and proposed actions/solutions. ILS Researchers Ms. Maria Isabel D. Artajo, Chief of the Workers Welfare Research Division (WWRD) and Ronell J. Delerio, WWRD Acting Supervising Labor and Employment Officer also served as facilitators for the breakout group during the workshop proper.

The POLO consultations point to the urgent task of defining a national framework for sustainable reintegration that will spell out coherent strategies toward enabling returned migrants to effectively cope with (re)migration drivers.

The planning exercise also aims to address immediate actions that will assist OFWs, who have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and looks into a solid strategy to ensure effective reintegration as reflected in the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) and other pertinent sectoral recovery plans.

The results of this consultative activity will feed into the development of the following policy documents: Migration Component of the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) and 2040 Migration and Development Agenda.