Over 120 migrant Filipinos in Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and Russia participated in a pilot online digital literacy training program entitled The Digital OFW conducted  by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Berlin, in partnership with Digital Tayo from Facebook and BounceBack Philippines, via Zoom on 28 March 2021.

The Digital OFW is designed to equip overseas Filipino workers with basic skills on how to navigate online services and use social media responsibly.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in his recorded message said  “Ang Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong Program, Balik Manggagawa, OASIS – lahat na po iyan, online na. This training is just a start”. He reiterated  that most government regulations and services are already being disseminated and delivered online, hence, it was indeed timely that the participants attended the training program.

Welfare Officer Sylvia Gabriel walked the participants through OWWA mobile App while Administrative Staff Rene Mangune discussed POLO-related social media accounts and Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) online application form/process. BounceBack Philippines Co-Founder Sam Jacoba taught the OFWs about the top 3 online skills to become a digital OFW after which, Richard Amazona of Digital Tayo from Facebook lectured on social media basics and introduction to digital citizenship, including privacy and security, respectful communication, and identification of false information in both social media and the internet.

The Philippine Ambassadors to Germany, H.E. Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-de Vega; Belgium & Luxembourg, H.E. Eduardo Jose A. de Vega; The Netherlands, H.E. Jose Eduardo E. Malaya III; and Russian Federation, H.E. Carlos D. Sorreta, gave their inspiring messages, respectively and showed full support by staying throughout the duration of the program.

As a way forward, Labor Attache Delmer Cruz shared The Digital OFW´s  future plan to organize a trainer and mentor´s pool that will cascade succeeding learning sessions, including the use of digital technology for livelihood and entrepreneurship, skills development and other capacity building activities.

The program, hosted by Assistant Labor Attache Delia Palomar, ended with a short graduation ceremony where the participants per country were symbolically given their certificates of participation as their group/class photos with their respective Ambassador´s were flashed on the screen. Local Hire Racquel Helena Abagat and AS Elena Querijero provided technical and administrative support for the program including online registration and pre-training orientation.