Quezon City MDC lauds Ilocos Norte's Sustainable Dev't Center, OFs-ReD program


Nov. 23, 2018 ...

The Quezon City Migration and Development Council on Overseas Filipinos (QC-MDC) visited the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) for their "Lakbay Aral" activity to exchange best practices last November 20.  

"Lakbay Aral" is a program in which members of the QC-MDC visit local government units and explore migration and development (M&D) initiatives as well as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) assistance that they can replicate in their locality.

Mr. Edwin Cariño, head of the Sustainable Development Center (SDC), led the discussion focusing on the Overseas Filipinos Remittances for Development (OFs-ReD) Program, which is a loan assistance given to former or active OFs and migrants for them to invest in business.

KB Dela Cruz, writer-researcher of QC-PESO, described Cariño's discussion as "very informative" and expressed surprise about the existence of a provincial SDC.

"Gagamitin ko na lang yung term na 'nagulat' kasi... sa amin, wala pa talaga  kaming center na talagang focused lamang sa sustainable development goals (SDGs), although our offices are aligned with the SDGs," Cruz expressed.

The SDC used to be the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) Office and was created by Governor Imee R. Marcos in 2010 to focus on the United Nations (UN)-prescribed MDGs, which focused on poverty reduction.

When the SDGs replaced the MDGs, the MDG Office was correspondingly renamed to the SDC.

According to Mr. Carlo Magno Abella, QC Public Employment Service Office (PESO) manager and QC-MDC vice chairperson, it was the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) that had suggested they explore the said M&D initiative in Ilocos Norte and gauge if they could replicate it in QC.

He also complimented the OFs-ReD program, saying, "Maganda talaga [ang OFs-ReD] dahil tulong-tulong ang pamahalaan ng Ilocos Norte at itong mga manggagawa at ating mga kasamahang OFW at migrant dito sa lungsod."

Cruz shared that PGIN's best practices to replicate would be the establishment of an SDC and the cooperative funding of banks.

"Hindi lahat ng lumalabas ng bansa ay successful. Sa QC, marami kaming cases na hindi ganun kaganda yung experience outside of the country, so mas maganda na matutulungan natin sila.  Umuwi man sila dito na may pera o wala, matutulungan at matutulungan natin sila especially their families and their children," he added.

Meanwhile, Abella noticed an improvement in Ilocos Norte's public transportation and commended Governor Marcos for the development. 

The members of the QC-MDC also visited the dragon fruit farm of Mrs. Edita Dacuycuy in Burgos in November 21. Dacuycuy was an OFs-ReD beneficiary, and her farm now provides local livelihood and boosts ecotourism in the province.