In the last two years WAGI and UN Women have conducted trainings and facilitated consultation/dialogues with the Safe and Fair Programme Stakeholders Towards Strengthening Capacities for the Prevention and Response to Violence Against Women in Different Stages of Migration. These include skills training for frontline workers and coordinated quality services in Cebu City held last February 2021 through the leadership of Councilor Alvin Dizon. The Cebu session interrogated current interventions of the LGU in the different phases (pre-departure, transit, onsite and return) of migration and solicited recommendations to improve coordination and delivery of services to women migrant workers, especially survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).
One month after the session, the office of Coun. Dizon authored an ordinance entitled “AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR COORDINATED QUALITY SERVICES FOR OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS (OFWS) OF CEBU CITY, PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES” which was approved last August 25, 2021 by the Cebu City Council.
The ordinance acknowledges the legal and moral responsibility of the local government to provide protection, uphold the rights, and ensure the welfare of its constituents, especially those who are vulnerable to violence and exploitation. The ordinance also captures the suggestion of Miriam College-WAGI through Prof. Aurora “Oyie” Javate-de Dios on the need to focus on the plight of women migrant workers whose host countries have imposed lockdowns and travel bans during this COVID-19 pandemic which results in mass lay-offs, decreased wages, risk of illness, and increase in work demands especially for household workers.
With the passage of this measure, Coun. Dizon and the Cebu City Government hope that the plight of OFWs, especially our women migrant workers, are better protected by gender-sensitive labor migration governance and be provided with well-coordinated and responsive quality services from frontline offices at the local level.