A total of 130 overseas Bangsamoro workers (OBW) from Cotabato City, Maguindanao, and Special Geographic Area (SGA) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) convened for the 2024 Regional OBW Convention on April 17, 2024.

Held at the Alnor Convention Hall in Cotabato City, the said annual event aimed to honor and recognize the invaluable contributions of OBW while fortifying partnerships within the community.

The program was organized by the Overseas Workers Welfare Bureau of the Ministry of Labor and Employment (OWWB-MOLE), led by Director Annuarudin U. Tayuan. As an advocate of OBW rights, MOLE Minister Muslimin G. Sema highlighted in his message the ministry’s commitment in providing support and assistance to Bangsamoro migrant workers through priority programs for OBW.

“Both the livelihood assistance and Balik Bangsamoro Hanap Trabaho programs of MOLE-BARMM under the repatriation and reintegration programs will help beneficiaries to start small businesses to sustain their economic activities as well as livelihood undertaking all throughout their lives,” the Minister said.

“The implementation of the reintegration and repatriation programs of OWWB under MOLE-BARMMn is part of the 12-point priority agenda of the Chief Minister to set up and implement programs and projects that will respond to the pressing social and economic challenges in the Bangsamoro, such as poverty, education, agricultural productivity, and access to the capital market,” Sema added.

Representatives from MOLE’s partner offices and agencies graced the event in support of the convention’s objectives. Ms. Janette Escaño from Department of Migrant Workers (DMW)-XII and Ms. Haniejoy Paguital from Blas Ople Policy Center and Training Institute Inc. each gave an orientation to the attendees on OBW programs from their respective offices, as well as updates on overseas employment migration.

Further, training offers from Technical Education and Skills Development (TESD) and 

pre-employment and pre-departure seminars from Overseas Workers Welfare Office (OWWO) in BARMM were imparted by Mr. Jay Camiña and Mr. Habib Malik, respectively.

OBW attendees also had the opportunity to engage in discussions on programs and pertinent issues concerning Bangsamoro workers both at home and abroad through seminars and open forum.

As the convention concluded, participants carried with them a renewed sense of pride in their identity as Bangsamoro and a strengthened commitment to contribute positively to their communities.

The 2024 Regional OBW Convention served as a testament to the enduring spirit of resilience, unity, and solidarity among Bangsamoro workers, embodying the theme of “OBW, Makabagong Bayani” and reaffirming their status as modern-day heroes of the Bangsamoro region.