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Manila – The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) and the DOLE Philippine Overseas Labor & Office (POLO) in Singapore successfully co-organized a webinar discussing an alternative career option for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), and a future reintegration policy for displaced workers, as well for OFWs who seek to permanently return to the Philippines.

Titled as, “’Paano Maging OFW na Hindi Umaalis ng Pinas? How You Can Become an OFW Without Leaving Your Family,” the collaborative webinar is a spin-off from Part II of the Institute Revive and Thrive webinar titled “Breaking Barriers: Skills to Navigate the Digitalized Workplace.” The webinar was conducted over Zoom and broadcast live via the official ILS and DOLE POLO Singapore Facebook pages last November 15.

Hosted by Assistant Labor Attaché (ALA) Macy Monique A. Maglanque hosted the program and gave a brief backgrounder of the webinar. Labor Attaché Saul T. De Vries gave the opening remarks for the program.

Ms. Ann Kristine R. Peñaredondo, a Facebook Marketing Strategist, Published Author, Podcaster, and Virtual Professional was featured as the main presenter for the program. She spoke at length about her previous visits to Singapore as well as her experience of meeting OFWs. She also mentioned and gave an overview of her experience as she transitioned from being a 9-to-5 employee to becoming a virtual professional who eventually enjoyed time freedom working on home-based projects, which she can freely choose from the variety of jobs available online.

Engaging with her online audience of around 1,000 live viewers on Facebook online viewers and 150 plus who signed on the Zoom webinar, Ms. Peñaredondo touched on the challenges of working abroad including the top five most common OFW problems, and eventually the option to engage in a thriving virtual career. She said that anyone who has basic computer skills could successfully transition and specialize in online jobs as there are a myriad of free lectures and tutorials with certifications that cater to online audiences who would like to learn such skills and use them to improve their online marketability as virtual professionals.

Ms. Peñaredondo also delved on four important things that most people ponder on before delving into virtual careers: Naiisip (Considerations), Akala (Assumptions), Duda (Doubts), and Takot (Fears). She discussed various scenarios and she summed the best way to overcome these things is to try. She also introduced her two guests’ panelists – Ms. Lyn Nafarrete (land based/former SG) and Ms. Tina Lanipa (seafarer) – former OFWs and their stories on how they transitioned from being OFWs engaged in traditional work to becoming virtual professionals.

Atty. Tecelyn B. Maramag, Senior Labor and Employment Officer from the Institute’s Advocacy and Publications Division moderated the plenary Q and A based on queries posed by participants who were on the Zoom Webinar as well as those watching via the Facebook live stream.

Atty. Maramag shared tips and her legal perspective for those who would like to engage in online work/virtual careers such as registering themselves and their services with the local bureaus (DTI, BIR) as these will give legitimacy to the work that they do. In addition, she gave the participants additional tips and a quick summary on how online/freelance/digital workers can further protect themselves and the work that they do, pending legislation.

The closing remarks was delivered by the Institute’s Executive Director Ahmma Charisma Lobrin-Satumba who thanked the DOLE POLO Singapore for the opportunity of co-organizing the webinar and underscored the importance of opening other legal and decent work opportunities for our OFWs during this pandemic.

To view the recorded webinar livestreamed via facebook, please go to this link: