UN: Gender-responsive migration policies and governance
essential for safe and fair opportunities for women and OFWs
The Safe and Fair Program culminated this year after a five-year implementation sharing success stories and lessons learned to foster a safer and fairer labor migration journey among women migrant workers.
Facing challenges such as discrimination, violence, labour exploitation, lack of access to decent work, and major social and economic disruptions in the country and globally, Filipino women and migrant workers are finding stronger partners and strategic opportunities through the Safe and Fair (SAF) program’s initiatives aimed at creating gender-responsive migration policies, governance and safer labor migration conditions from recruitment, to working abroad and until return and reintegration.
The SAF programme is a regional initiative under the multi-year European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative which has invested EUR 500 million in projects throughout the globe to eliminate violence against women and girls. It is implemented through the joint efforts of the International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Women, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – dedicated to enhancing the labor migration experience for Filipino women.
The program conducted legal and policy reforms, capacity building, and awareness-raising to respond to the critical issues faced by migrant women such as violence and discrimination, inefficient migration governance, and inaccessible services. Varona added that “by placing women’s voice, choice, and agency at the heart of our strategies, activities, and services, we are setting a new standard for labour migration.”
Ambassador Koshikawa keynotes scholarship program closing ceremony
On 15 December 2023, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines KOSHIKAWA Kazuhiko, took center stage as the distinguished keynote speaker at the closing ceremony of the Asian Peacebuilders Scholarship Program. The event, hosted at the prestigious Ateneo de Manila University, celebrated 16 years of commitment to peace and development and the last batch of scholars.
The Asian Peacebuilders Scholarship Program, a collaborative initiative of The Nippon Foundation, the University for Peace, and Ateneo de Manila University, has been instrumental in shaping the next generation of peacebuilding practitioners and development leaders across Asia. Over the course of 16 years, the program has supported the postgraduate education of more than 400 scholars from Japan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Ambassador KOSHIKAWA Kazuhiko’s message highlighted the significance of international cooperation in fostering peace and collaboration among nations. His keynote address emphasized the critical role programs like the APS and education in building a peaceful and harmonious future.
The closing ceremony of the Asian Peacebuilders Scholarship Program was graced by the distinguished presence of key individuals, including Rev. Fr. Roberto C. Yap, SJ, President of Ateneo de Manila University; Dr. Maria Luz C. Vilches, Vice President for Higher Education at Ateneo de Manila University; Dr. Francisco Rojas, Rector of the University for Peace; Dr. Juan Carlos Sainz Borgo, Vice-Rector of the University for Peace; Dr. Czarina Saloma-Akpedonu, Dean of the School of Social Sciences; and Ms. Kiyomi Takahashi, Program Manager of The Nippon Foundation. The event also welcomed members of the diplomatic corps, esteemed faculty members, and administrators from Ateneo de Manila University and the University for Peace. Additionally, scholars and alumni from various programs of The Nippon Foundation added to the distinguished gathering, highlighting the program’s broad support and lasting impact on individuals dedicated to promoting peace.
Christmas in the City
Christmas is indeed in the air as Marivent Resort Hotel Inc.-Quezon City hosted a series of Christmas tree lighting ceremonies to welcome this season that brings a profound sense of togetherness as families, friends, and communities come together in the joy of the season, embodying the true spirit of Filipino Christmas.
This December 2023, Marivent Resort Hotel Inc., through Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Quezon City, brings back the essence of Filipino Christmas. This urban sanctuary intertwined the threads of tradition, embracing this year’s theme: “Pasko sa Las Casas,” both the guests and walk-in visitors arrived adorned in their finest Filipiniana attire, eagerly eyeing the opportunity to participate in a contest for an overnight stay at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan.
Recognized as a cultural gem in Metro Manila, Las Casas Quezon City hosted its first-ever one-day Christmas Bazaar alongside its traditional annual Christmas tree lighting last December 1, at the Plaza.
The festivity commenced with a First Friday Mass at St. Joseph Chapel, infusing the gathering with spiritual resonance and a sense of unity in celebrating the season.
The melodic performances and musical prowess of the Manila Symphony Orchestra elevated the celebration, which engaged the audience throughout the program, infusing the air with harmonious melodies and festive rhythms.
Marivent Resort Hotels Inc.’s other property, the VS Hotel Convention Center, in partnership with the Victoria Sports Club Inc., held its first Christmas Tree lighting last December 2, 2023, at the lobby of the Victoria Sports Tower.
The Laudem Dei Chorale serenaded the visitors as they waited for the symbolic Christmas tree lighting in the heart of EDSA, Quezon City.
Over 132,000 public school buildings nationwide to be insured by GSIS starting 2024
In a move to strengthen the resilience of the nation’s educational infrastructure, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) today announced that it will provide fire insurance for more than 132,000 public school buildings under the Department of Education (DepEd) nationwide.
The total fire insurance for these public school buildings is worth P843.11 billion, and will cover fire, lightning, and natural catastrophes for a one-year period effective from January 1, 2024.
The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) helped put together the insurance coverage, marking a pivotal step in the nation’s focus on educational infrastructure security under the National Indemnity Insurance Program (NIIP).
The NIIP, an initiative of the BTr, aims to provide adequate and comprehensive insurance protection to critical government assets such as schools, hospitals, roads, and bridges.
In addition to insuring DepEd’s school buildings, the GSIS has provided a 24/7 personal accident insurance coverage for all DepEd personnel, covering death and medical expenses.
ASMMA leaders meet
Leaders of the Asian Secondary Mortgage Market Association (ASMMA) gather at the recently held 9th Annual Meeting of ASMMA and Green Housing Finance in Tokyo, Japan hosted by Japan Housing Finance Agency (JHF). ASMMA is an organization of secondary mortgage corporations from Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and the Philippines that aims to provide a basis and platform of ideas and experiences with a view to promote housing finance markets. Secondary mortgage organizations play a crucial role in fostering homeownership by creating opportunities for affordable housing and reducing financial costs. National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) President Renato L. Tobias (4th left) represented the country in this convention.
FSSI supports social entrepreneurs to grow local communities
Social investment non-profit organization Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) continues to scale up social entrepreneurship by offering financial and non-financial products to Filipino enterprises, promoting inclusive socio-economic growth and environmental sustainability.
FSSI addresses challenges of social enterprises through its triple bottom line (3BL) approach, which measures People, Planet, and Profit as the main indicators. Through this approach, FSSI has benefited over 280 local social enterprises, resulting in deeper support to the communities they belong to, more paths to sustainability, and more profitable businesses – all at the same time.
Women-led enterprise Mallig FST Multi-Purpose Cooperative is engaged in lending, savings deposits, agricultural inputs trading and mechanization services, and rice milling. In 2022, the cooperative expanded and opened a gas station in Mallig, Isabela to create jobs for their immediate community.
The cooperative also started the construction of a multi-purpose building which will be used as the cooperative’s office, convenience store, agricultural trading store for bulk purchase of agricultural supplies, and other stalls for rent.
Nueva Ecija-based women-led social enterprise Kilusang Lima para sa Lahat Multi-Purpose Cooperative (K5 MPC) already began partnering with FSSI through a loan program in 2006 to sustain its financial support to its members who are farmers and owners of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
In 2022, K5 MPC worked with FSSI, under a renewed partnership, to expand its services to nearby province, Aurora, and launched its first lodging business, “Peaks and Waves Bed and Breakfast.” FSSI supported the construction of the lodging house which now contributes to the local economy of the town of Dingalan.