For many years, Illegal Recruitment and Human Trafficking have caused irreparable damage and untold miseries to numerous families especially in the countryside. The poor became poorer, workers maltreated, women raped, families broken, incomes lost… just to name a few of the perennial problems brought about by lack of education, information and other support services available to families and communities.
Region I ranks fourth in the most number of illegal recruitment cases in the whole country from 2009-2013, next only to NCR, Region 4a and Region 3. In the region, Pangasinan had the most number of Illegal Recruitment cases for the same period, no wonder, considering that the population of Pangasinan comprises more than half of region 1 and had deployed the most number of OFWs consistently.
Although poverty incidence in the province had gone down significantly in recent years, illegal recruitment had gone up dramatically in 2013.
“BANTAY-BARANGAY, TULONG-HANAPBUHAY” Program is a strategic initiative of the Provincial Government of Pangasinan for the welfare of Overseas Filipinos/Workers, their families and their communities. Its main strategy is to promote volunteerism and self-reliance among OF/W families and equip them to protect their communities from Illegal Recruitment/Human Trafficking and to serve as conduit of the Provincial Government and some national government agencies and NGOs in their common fight against poverty. The project is in convergence with the Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Commission on Filipinos Overseas, National Commission for Reintegration of OFWs, Department of Trade and Industry, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Pangasinan League of Municipalities, Cities and Barangays and the Pangasinan OF/W Family Federation.
- Organization of OF/W Family Associations/Federation
- OF/W Mapping& Information Campaign
- Values Enhancement and Capability Building Trainings/Seminars
- Anti-Illegal Recruitment/Human Trafficking Campaign
- Skills/Livelihood/Entrepreneurship Trainings/Seminars
- Employment Facilitation
- Livelihood and Business Support Services (Financial & Technical Assistance)
Positive Results & Impact:
- More accurate number of Overseas Filipinos (OFs) and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) fromPangasinan with disaggregation by town and by Barangay.
- Computerized database/information system in support of planning and development by LGUs and other stakeholders.
- Stronger unity and cooperation among OF/W families.
- Lower incidence of Illegal Recruitment and Human Trafficking cases.
- More income opportunities and reduced incidence of poverty.
- Higher financial and investment literacy among OF/Ws and their families.
- More involvement of Overseas Filipinos in the development of their province, town/ cities and communities.
- Empowered citizenry with strong moral/spiritual ascendancy.
“BANTAY-BARANGAY, TULONG-HANAPBUHAY” is a strategic, comprehensive and innovative program that aims to address the problems brought about by illegal recruitment and human trafficking by “PREVENTION”, using inter-agency resources by “CONVERGENCE”, and developing the capabilities of OF/W families by “VOLUNTEERISM” in community service for social and economic development/poverty alleviation.
Innovative Aspects of the Project:
- Will make families of OFWs becomeheroes themselves by doing voluntary work not only for the welfare and benefitof their own familiesbut also of their communities/localities.
- Cost-savings for the house-to-house OF/W-Mapping Project and distribution of Anti-Illegal Recruitment/Human Trafficking information materials will run to millions of pesos for involving volunteer enumerators in their own Barangay zones.
- The innovative design of the OF/W-Mapping Questionnaire makes data gathering easier and faster.
- Barangay Coordinators and Zone Volunteers will serve in education and information campaigns in the barangay level and may be tapped for other volunteer work.
- The “convergence” approach will optimize utilization of resources.
- A practical application of the adage “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”