Repatriation of OFWs in Middle East greets Calzado’s entry into OWWA


Rebecca Calzado takes over OWWA’s reings from recent retiree Carmelita Dimzon.



MANILA–Clad in yellow dress with a game face restlessly answering journalists’ question, newly-appointed Administrator Rebecca Calzado of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration comes in at a time government has to respond to impending crisis situations in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Currently, the departments of Labor and Employment and Foreign Affairs have been strategizing measures to repatriate affected overseas Filipino workers in those Middle East countries. OWWA is expected to shoulder the bulk of the repatriation expenses and, together with the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), provide them with economic assistance upon their return to the country.

The 59-year-old Calzado replaces the recently-retired Carmelita Dimzon as OWWA administrator. Calzado was previously a long-time assistant secretary of DOLE.

A holder of M.A degree on AB Economics from University of the Philippines, Calzado has been in DOLE for 38 years as a contractual consultant of the old Overseas Employment Development Board (OEDB), now called the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The old OEDB had a workers’ welfare fund program then, which is now OWWA.

Calzado was appointed DOLE’s assistant secretary in 2007.

Earlier this month, DOLE had sent a mission to Libya to coordinate with the Filipino community there in efforts to repatriate OFWs. Last week, government raised to Alert Level 3 the situation in Iraq and had urged Filipino workers there to voluntarily repatriate.

While there has been an OFW deployment ban to Syria, government had also issued similar bans to Libya and Iraq.

Various issues of civil unrest face the three countries, said to be a continuation of the “Arab Spring” revolutions in those countries, as well as Tunisia, Yemen, Oman, among others.

Calzado inherits the responsibilities of the world’s largest welfare fund for migrant workers, part of a Philippine bureaucracy for migration management that is said to be a global model.


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