The Department of Migrant Workers XI recently partnered with WIMLER Foundation Hong Kong Ltd., Holy Cross of Davao College’s Center for Linkages, Internationalization and Language Studies (LINK-IN &LS), and the Institute of ASEAN-European Studies (IAES) to host a roundtable discussion about the Tres Por Uno (3×1) Program. The event, held on August 22, 2023, at Lanang Suites in Davao City, welcomed 25 representatives from various local government units in the Davao region.

The Tres Por Uno Program aims to foster rural development by leveraging remittances from Mexican migrants living abroad. Through this program, migrant associations create clubs and pool donations to improve infrastructure, education, healthcare, and local economies in their hometowns in Mexico. These contributions are then matched by federal, state, and municipal governments.

Keynote speaker Mr. Efrain Jimenez, President of the migration club Federación Zacatecana AC (FEDZA), underscored the program’s focus on community participation and ownership. “Our approach to project selection is built around the desires and needs of the migrant community, establishing a sustainable framework for long-term, needs-based projects,” said Mr. Jimenez.

According to Ms. Leila Rispens-Noel, President and Co-Founder of the WIMLER Foundation, “the government is still looking into the possibility of replicating the program in the Philippines.” Other neighboring migrant countries, including Indonesia, are also studying the program.

In addition, OIC-Assistant Regional Director (DMW-Davao) Labor Attache Marie Rose C. Escalada introduced the Full Cycle Reintegration program, outlining six routes for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to follow upon return for successful reintegration and potential re-migration. These pathways have been endorsed by international development partners.

“DMW is committed to listening to the needs of OFWs and taking them into action,” stated OIC-Regional Director and Labor Attache II Atty. Angela Librado-Trinidad. She also suggested adapting the Tres Por Uno model to fit the unique cultural contexts of Filipino communities.

Lastly, Ms. Sheryl Jo Urdaneta, Head of LINK-IN &LS and IAES, announced plans to offer a specific number of scholarships for OFW children in the upcoming academic year. In partnership with ALS, they will also assist OFWs who had started but not completed their education before working abroad. A new certificate program in social entrepreneurship and development is in the pipeline at IAES.

Overall, the various organizations involved expressed a strong commitment to collaborate with migrant stakeholders, local communities, and government agencies to better support OFWs and their families.