Ms. Maria Cecilla G. Ascalon talks about “Work-Life Balance and Self-Care.”

27 March 2024
Embassy Press and Information Section

WASHINGTON D.C. The Embassy of the Philippines in Washington, DC, through the Migrant Workers Office (MWO) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), celebrated the National Women’s Month with virtual and in-person learning sessions with overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the United States (US) and the Caribbean.

The celebration started with the conduct of a webinar entitled Supportive Ka Ba? on 16 March 2024 focusing on the issue of financial support for families left behind. Attended by 41 OFWs in mainland US and Caribbean islands, the webinar aimed to raise awareness on statutory obligations of migrant workers to provide financial support to their families in the Philippines and on legal implications of non-fulfilment of such obligations. The webinar also dwelled on the obligations and responsibilities of parents under the Family Code and the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004.

The activity was undertaken in partnership with the International Pro-Bono Alliance, a non-government organization led by Atty. Pingki Bartolome-Bernabe that provides free legal service to migrant workers and other vulnerable sectors in the ASEAN region and beyond. Atty. Richelle Joy L. Belgira, Senior Associate of the Salumbides and De Los Santos Law firm, served as the webinar’s resource speaker. Consul General Iric C. Arribas, DMW Officer-in-Charge Hans Leo J. Cacdac, OWWA Administrator Arnaldo A. Ignacio, Consul Barbie Jane L. Rosales sent Women’s Month video greetings to the participants.

Labor Attaché Saul T. De Vries opened the webinar stressing that the issue of family support mostly affects women and children who face more economic difficulties and are put in a more disadvantaged position without financial support.

The celebration culminated with a meet-and-greet and learning session in-person event entitled Kumusta Ka Na Kabayan on 23 March 2024 at the Embassy of the Philippines Chancery Annex. A total of 26 women migrant workers from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) attended the event that featured a talk on “Work-Life Balance and Self-Care”, which focused on the importance of self-awareness, positive relationships, self-care, and effective stress management. Ms. Maria Cecilla Gregorio Ascalon, a family counselor and faculty member of the RMT-CEFAM Center for Family Ministries of the Ateneo de Manila University.

The in-person event also featured presentations about the programs and services of the Philippine Embassy, MWO and OWWA. Consul Rosales, Assistant Labor Attaché Marie Josephine B. Borromeo, and Welfare Officer Mae D. Codilla served as presenters.

Deputy Chief of Mission Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon, Jr. greeted the participants by welcoming them to the Embassy, which he said as their home in the United States. He stressed the contribution of women migrant workers to society’s development and informed about the Bagong Pilipinas initiative of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. that focuses on economic and social transformation of the Philippines. Labor Attaché De Vries gave the opening remarks underscoring the significance of celebrating Women’s Month.

The event ended with MWO-OWWA encouraging the participants to organize themselves into an association of migrant workers in the DMV area. The participants showed enthusiasm to forming an organization and undertaking projects and activities. They brought home small tokens and prizes prepared by OWWA. ###

27 March 2024

During the webinar, Atty. Richelle Joy L. Belgira (2nd row, 2nd to the right) discusses the obligations and responsibilities of parents under the Family Code and the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004.

27 March 2024

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(First row L-R) Labor Attache Saul De Vries, Asst. Labor Attache Marie Josephine B. Borromeo, Consul Barbie Jane L. Rosales, Deputy Chief of Mission Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon, Jr., Ms. Maria Cecilla G. Ascalon, and Welfare Officer Mae Codilla take a group photo with the Filipino Community members.