Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their dependents will be afforded free computer skills training on Word, Excel, and the Internet via a joint project of Microsoft Philippines and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said.
A report reaching Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas said the training will be held at the new Blas F. Ople Hall of the OWWA Building in Pasay City is an effort to strengthen OFW competitiveness and family linkages and ensure the OFWs’ successful reintegration into the local economic mainstream.
The new Hall, named after the late labor and foreign affairs secretary Blas F. Ople who is also considered the “father” of Philippine labor, currently hosts livelihood, entrepreneurial, and practical skill training for OFW families and their dependents. Meanwhile, the conduct of computer skills training for OFWs and their dependents would commence as soon as Microsoft and OWWA jointly finalize their schedules.
Sto. Tomas cited the project as a concrete implementation of the earlier “Tulay” agreement forged between the DOLE and the global software giant Microsoft. According to her, the firm’s participation will enhance the computer literacy course the DOLE offers to OFWs and their dependents.
Earlier, Sto. Tomas cited some 600 OFWs in Singapore who took the lead as the world’s first batch of volunteer teachers under the global “Unlimited Potential” program initiated by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and UNESCO director general Koichiro Matsuura to bridge the “digital divide.”
OWWA Administrator Marianito D. Roque stressed that the Microsoft-OWWA computer training for OFWs and their dependents will enable them to use the practical applications of the computer and the Internet to communicate and get in touch with each other.
He said IT skills are indispensable for global competitiveness and these will also help them to reintegrate successfully at home consistent with the government’s priority to strengthen the Filipino family’s unity.
The OWWA chief stressed that the host of the Microsoft-OWWA training, the new Blas F. Ople Hall, also symbolizes the labor father’s legacy of skills, learning, and knowledge to the Filipinos.
“Ipinamana niya sa atin ang karunungan, at karunungan din ang ipapasa natin sa mga manggagawa (Blas F. Ople demonstrated the importance of learning to us, which we shall also hand down to OFWs and their families by means of this IT facility),” Roque said.