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OFWs told to save and plan for future

05 July 2018

By Daisy CL Mandap

A total of 127 migrant workers received certificates at the Bayanihan Centre on Jun 24 for completing various training courses offered for free by the United Migrant Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Association (Umela) Hong Kong.

Special guest, Consul General Antonio A. Morales, lauded the graduates and their trainors for making the decision to spend their day off learning new skills and planning for their future.

“Sana ay ipagpatuloy ninyo ang inyong pag-aaral ng bagong kaalaman at samantalahin ang magandang pagkakataon na ito para pagplanuhin ang inyong pag-uwi,” said ConGen Morales in his speech.
Trainees sing their graduation song.

To drive home his message, Morales related that he had just visited a migrant worker who had overstayed her visa for 18 years. He said this often happened when a migrant worker gets enmeshed in debt because of the incessant demand of family members for financial help.

“Save,” he advised. “Huwag nating ipapadala lahat ng suweldo natin.”

 Later, he offered the use of the Consulate’s facilities for some of Umela’s training sessions after learning that these were all done in open air, rain or shine, across the High Court building in Admiralty.

He suggested to the group to set a schedule for when they might need a room for their training, and book the dates beforehand with the officer in charge at the Consulate.

A total of 85 graduates came from seven batches of massage therapy training, and the rest completed courses in balloon making, ice cream making and stocking flower making. All, save one, are women.

A surprise part of the program was the naming of awardees for each batch. For batch 23, Benita Dianne D. Ballena received the best in clinical award. For all the remaining batches an outstanding student was named: for Batch 24, Agnes S. Almoguera; Batch 25,  Charity Palma; Batch 26, Joy Salvador; Batch 27: Josephine Agcaoili; Batch 28: Jane D. Lim, and Batch 29: Michie Ann P. Cerezo

Each graduate completed six months of basic training on anatomy, physiology, microbiology and pathology, after which they had to do 72 hours of hands-on training.

After graduation, the trainees can apply to be tested or assessed so they could qualify for a national certificate of competency from Tesda (Technical Education, Skills and Development Authority) in the Philippines.

Umela is headed by its founder and president, Ofelia Baquirin. The group has two other governing bodies: the Board of Directors headed by Opalyn Albidas, and the Student Body led by Maria Ellen Lupera.

Albidas, acting as the group’s officer-in-charge while Baquirin is on extended leave, announced plans to include the teaching of shiatsu massage on top of the Swedish technique currently being taught to Umela students.

She also said that Umela conducts two batches of training every six months, with more than 100 graduates each time.

The Umela Board also announced the completion of the roof for a mini gym at the Hermogenes Bautista Elementary School in Mindoro which they helped fund with donation from members.

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