The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has launched a program seeking to make families of overseas Filipino workers less dependent on remittances from their loved ones abroad.

Dubbed the Diocesan Awareness Seminar for Migrants’ Apostolate (DASMA), the program of the CBCP Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People is initially available for OFWs' families in Luzon and Mindanao.

“We started this in Luzon and Mindanao ... The bishops of Mindanao held a series of consultation meetings on August 21-22 hosted by the Diocese of Ipil in Zamboanga-Sibugay. This meeting recommends the setting up of Ministry for Migrants in each Mindanao diocese,” ECMI chairman and Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said on Church-run Radio Veritas.

Excerpts of the interview were posted on the CBCP news site.

Santos said the ECMI had been espousing such livelihood program seminars, which he said seek to train relatives of Filipino migrant workers in valuable skills.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration estimates that there are around 2.2 million OFWs all over the world.

Santos said the next scheduled livelihood program seminars will be conducted in November in the Dioceses of Dipolog, Pagadian, and Iligan, and the Archdiocese of Ozamiz.

He said they teamed up with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and with the various dioceses and organizations.

The CBCP said the Commission on Overseas Filipinos estimates there are 13 million recorded Filipino citizens abroad, with 2.2 million identified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) as OFWs. — Joel Locsin /LBG, Source:

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