26 October 2020, Frankfurt – The Philippine Consulate General in Frankfurt conducted last 24 October a webinar on POLO, OWWA, SSS and Pag-IBIG Services. The webinar is the third online event of the Consulate for members of the Filipino-German community in its jurisdiction.
In her welcome remarks, Consul General Evelyn Austria-Garcia extended her warmest greetings to the resource speakers and participants for spending their Saturday morning to participate in the webinar. She noted that the coronavirus has affected Filipinos everywhere especially the Overseas Filipino Workers. For those who have decided to weather the pandemic in Germany, the Consulate is committed to supporting and assisting our kababayans, Consul General Austria-Garcia underscored.
Consul General Austria-Garcia added that a seminar on the same topic was initially planned to be held last June as part of the Consulate’s Barrio Fiesta event for the annual commemoration of Philippine Independence but was cancelled due to the German Government’s Covid-19 restrictions. Last year’s seminar was held on-site at the newly-opened office of the Consulate in Frankfurt.
Representatives from POLO, OWWA, SSS and Pag-IBIG served as the resource speakers. Labor Attaché Delmer Cruz discussed the mandate of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO). As the operating unit of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) abroad, the POLO is guided by its twin objectives of implementing the country’s labor policies and programs to facilitate employment and protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of Filipinos working abroad. He discussed POLO’s special programs to help OFWs cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and provided tips to OFWs who intend to travel to the Philippines for vacation.
Ms. Sylvia Gabriel, Welfare Officer, delivered a presentation on the various services offered by OWWA to its members. She encouraged OFWs in Germany to register or update their membership with the OWWA to ensure full coverage and assistance. She also spoke about OWWA’s reintegration program and collaboration with other government agencies to provide livelihood assistance to returning OFWs especially those displaced by the pandemic. Both the POLO and OWWA are located in the Philippine Embassy in Berlin.
The presentation on SSS services was delivered by Ms. Mary Jessielyn Sia of the SSS Representative Office in Milan, Italy. Ms. Sia expounded on the contributions, benefits and loans for overseas Filipinos in the country’s pension fund and its efforts to make services more accessible through online platforms. Members can now apply for loans through the My.SSS Portal and pay their contributions through the online payment facility of Rewire, Ms. Sia added. With seven benefits available to members, contributions to the SSS should be seen as long-term savings and not an expense, she said.
The fourth speaker of the webinar was Ms. Mylene Lontoc-Pintor, Member Services Officer of the Pag-IBIG Fund Overseas Post in Milan, Italy. She informed everyone that Pag-IBIG is offering promo rates for regular housing loans until the end of the year. She endeavored to correct the view that the Pag-IBIG Fund is solely for housing loans. Ms. Lontoc-Pintor said that Pag-IBIG provides an excellent investment opportunity through its Regular Savings and MP2 program which offered significantly higher dividends at 6.73% and 7.23%, respectively, in 2019. Through the Virtual Pag-IBIG, application for membership, loans and records check as well as payment of contributions are now easier, added Ms. Lontoc-Pintor.
The webinar was capped with a question-and-answer session, as viewers were able to post their questions through the FB’s comments section. The activity was held via Zoom and simultaneously streamed live in the Consulate’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PHinFrankfurt/, where it may still be viewed by interested parties. Eighty-three attendees viewed the live proceedings and a video recording of the webinar has been shared 43 times and seen over 3,500 times in just 24 hours.
For the months of November and December 2020, the Consulate shall be conducting a webinar on “Livelihood Programs of DTI, DOLE and DA” as well as virtual “Christmas Performance” to celebrate the upcoming holidays, respectively. (END)