Premier Filipino network The Filipino Channel (TFC) and the lead institution that promotes policies, programs & projects with migration and development as framework, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), recently reaffirmed their commitment to help overseas Filipinos (OFs) in formal ceremonies at the Restaurant 9501 at the ABS-CBN headquarters in Quezon City, Philippines.
TFC and CFO have been partners since 2011, starting with the Global Summit for Filipinos in the Diaspora (GSFD). This event which has been held every two years since then, is the biggest and most significant biennial gathering of OFs in the Philippines. Since then, the two agencies have been coming together to collaborate for frontline services for the Migrant Integration and Education Division led by its pre-departure program for permanent migrants.
Managing Director for Asia Pacific of ABS-CBN Global, Ltd. Philippine Branch Ailene Averion shares: “When we first partnered with CFO in 2011, our focus was for the 1st Global Summit for Filipinos in the Diaspora, a fruition of CFO’s Diaspora to Development program. While both parties were open to all possibilities at that time, we never thought that we could go beyond.”
Averion understands firsthand the importance of support programs that will help alleviate the challenges of living overseas as she herself has immediate members of her family who have migrated abroad. She values programs like the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS), a CFO program that provides kababayans with relevant information that will help them cope with life away from the homeland. Averion looks forward to supporting other efforts of CFO that aim to lessen the physical, psychological and financial strain of migration and turn these into opportunities, whether in their host or home country.
Averion ends: “For every possible synergy TFC will be there to support CFO. At the end of the day, our origins may be different but our goals are the same – the welfare of migrant Filipinos wherever they are in the world.”
CFO Chairperson Secretary Imelda Nicolas recognizes the role which TFC has been playing over the past five years. Nicolas says TFC is an effective platform in the strengthening and empowering of the community of Filipinos overseas.
In her remarks, Secretary Nicolas quoted former automobile executive Lido Anthony “Lee” Lacocca: “You may have brilliant ideas and services to offer, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas will not get you anywhere.”
“We believe that through the TFC and CFO tandem, we can say that the Filipino diaspora is no longer the case of so near yet so far but just the opposite – so far yet so close. That is the wonder and miracle of media, which is what TFC provides.”
Secretary Nicolas also echoes legendary American author Mark Twain’s words in reference to TFC’s role in the partnership: “There are only two forces that can carry light to all the corners of the globe, the sun in the heavens and the press down here.” She says that in CFO’s case, the Filipino diaspora can be found in 200 countries and territories worldwide and the press is media, specifically, TFC.
TFC has also been supporting other CFO programs such as the 1343 Hotline against human trafficking; CFO’s Media Advocacy and Migration Awards and the agency’s Return and Reintegration Summit.
CFO’s other key programs include the YouLead that taps the Filipino youth to play a more participatory role in the diaspora; the Balinkbayan, the one-stop portal for all diaspora engagement; financial literacy programs such as Peso Sense and Kapit Ka; Joint Migration Initiative Development Program or JMD12, which is the mainstreaming of Migration and Development at the local level; and the annual Community Education Program (CEPs) in at least 20 provinces in the Philippines.
With this partnership, TFC and CFO aims to bring OFs closer to home, wherever they may be.