Gender and Reintegration of Overseas Filipino Workers
This research paper has a two-fold aim. First, it seeks to map out current Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) reintegration programs and services, including those created to assist migrant workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether they are returning OFWs or those yet to be deployed. Second, based on the available information on these reintegration programs and services, evaluate them from a gendered and intersectional perspective. The last section of the paper presents directions which migration governance agencies and actors, as well as advocates of gender equality and women’s empowerment like UN Women, could take in helping strengthen OFW reintegration programs and services, especially within the broader spaces opened by the Department of Migrant Workers Act.
In terms of methodology, the mapping focused on Philippine government agencies and Filipino/Philippine-based non-government organizations providing reintegration services for OFWs. The mapping does not claim to be exhaustive, nor comprehensive in the light of international discussions on sustainable reintegration that consider the broader context of the workers’ migration journey, from pre-departure to return, as important factors in reintegration, not just the conditions of their return. Instead, the mapping generally follows how reintegration programs and services are defined and operationalized by Philippine agencies, that is, focused on ensuring economic stability and continued productivity of OFWs upon their return to the country. In mapping reintegration programs initiated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the criteria was widened to include return services, or immediate support services provided to OFWs upon their return to the country, including psychosocial interventions, material support in relation to their quarantine and travel to their home provinces, and financial assistance.