The OFW Journalism Consortium: A Reader’s View

The OFW Journalism Consortium: A Reader’s View

(click OFJCI Logo to view their Site

(click OFJCI Logo to view their Site

AMONG my peers, there seems to be a common observation in the reporting of any kind of news that media generally shows bias for sensational stories that whet the reading public’s appetite for such accounts but which incidentally also sells newspapers, broadsheets and tabloids.
News reportage on Filipino migrants is no exception.

Stories about overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) coming home in coffins, jumping out of the windows, committing suicides, of rape, torture, and other forms of maltreatment in foreign shores, continue to dominate our daily newspapers. One has to find balance and variety in reporting of this or any kind of news.

For one like myself engaged in advocacy for migrant empowerment, I continue to wonder; given that we have an estimated 10 million of our fellow citizens working and making a living overseas, there must be and, indeed, there should be success stories and other development-oriented diaspora activities initiated by migrants all over the world that mirror their sacrifices and continued love for their origin countries.

However, if one has not scoured papers, studies and reports, or participate in conferences of development, international and multilateral agencies, academic and research institutions, which monitor, support, assist or enhance these activities, the public remains unaware of the important contributions to the economic, cultural and human capital made by migrants to their countries of origin, and the enormous challenges that had to be surmounted by people who once upon a time made a momentous decision to migrate.

Which brings me to the work of the OFW Journalism Consortium, a small band of journalists who in the last few years since their formal organization, chose to focus on development-oriented migration journalism, bringing to the public stories, reports, and even person-to-person accounts, that may well have escaped our notice.

I am quite sure the OFWJC’s brand of journalism has enhanced the public’s level of awareness on core issues, concerns and challenges of Philippine migration, diaspora activities that highlight the overseas Filipinos’ love for their native land and, at the same time, has pointed out to policymakers where reforms should be directed.

As a migrant advocate since 1999 to the present, I know of no other media group, here or elsewhere, that is engaged in this type of journalistic work regarding migrants.

Their reports have often been quoted or cited not only in academic papers but even by local and foreign newspapers. Perhaps, these are indications their decision a few years ago to focus on migrant issues was a wise one.

Well, they don’t sell newspapers –they only write and report these stories.

If that is not commitment, I don’t know what is. end

Editor’s note: The author is president of the nonprofit Economic Resource Center for Overseas Filipinos (Ercof), and plays the bass guitar and keyboards.


3 thoughts on “The OFW Journalism Consortium: A Reader’s View

  1. An open reply letter to : Madame Claire Lee (AVP for Operations – Solutions Using Renewable Energy Inc.

    Dear Madame Claire Lee,

    First and foremost allow me to thank you for visiting ofwempowerment blog, it is indeed an honor.

    Promoting renewable energy sources as well related energy technologies are needed for sustainable development in any countries in the world. A project such as yours (Solutions Using Renewable Energy Inc.) is very commendable.

    I can help you disseminate the information to fellow OFWs in KSA regarding “Give a Light” Project in which the proceeds would eventually help our poor-grid communities especially in the rural remote areas of our country.
    However, I am not actually involved of such undertaking in relation to renewable energy though I hope; I can share with you a little in order for you to advance conceptualizing the project at this initial stage.

    I am currently working in King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST); in our country this Saudi institution is the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). In my 1 year and 6 months of my employment in this respected Saudi institution (my 3rd employer for 16 years as an OFW in KSA) assigned in the Directorate of International Cooperation, I was able to peek some important materials pertains to the development of renewable energies that the Kingdom is currently been developing. This oil rich country is working towards the greater and wider use of Solar Energy. And I think our country are also doing the same recognizing the solar energy and other environmentally sound energy systems and its technologies in the country’s national energy policies. KSA and Philippines were among the countries participants in the World Solar Programme initiated by the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization –UNESCO).

    You project “Give a Light” will be a starting point for greater and wider projects that could help our country’s energy crisis. As we all knew that there are more than 500 million households in remote rural areas of the world do not have access in electricity. Renewable energy electrification can facilitate satisfying the basic needs of our poor countrymen especially those in rural areas (remote or sitios in our barangays) and of course it would create or stimulate revenue generating rural activities such as: tourism, handicrafts, improvement of agricultural production and many more. I believe that if those areas in our country will be “Given a Light” I am sure there will be no more “New People’s Army”, “Abbu Sayyaf” and other rebel group’s roaming around the far hills in the beautiful mountains of our beloved country.

    Regarding your inquiry, I read in an online news 2 or 3 months ago (I tried to look for it in the web but to no avail, I was not able to retrieve it again); It was reported that an act governing Renewable Energy was signed into law. Some of the said law’s provisions will attract local and foreign entities to invest in the energy sector in our country because of incentives, like exemption from taxes in the importation of any related machineries and equipments; and exemption of other taxes such as; tax credits on purchasing local machineries and equipments and domestic services as well as income tax holiday.

    In this regards, I would highly recommend Solutions Using Renewable Energy Inc., to visit our Department of Energy to obtain the copy of the above mentioned law and it’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

    My warmest regards to your colleagues and best wishes in your future endeavors.


    Manuel A. Amora

  2. Hi,
    Sorry for putting the comment in this post. I don’t know how to contact you. This is a very interesting blog and would like to commend you for starting it.
    I work for a renewable energy developer in the Philippines. We are conceptualizing a project, initially called “Give a Light” for Christmas wherein OFWs may be given a chance to purchase solar lanterns to be donated to poor and off-grid communities in the Philippines. These may also be purchased for disaster preparedness in unfortunate events such as Ondoy.
    We are still exploring this project and would like to seek help from people with experience such as yourself. We would like to know if there are taxes or duties required for such an undertaking.
    Thank you and hope to hear from you soon.

    Thank you.

    Claire Lee
    AVP for Oprerations
    Solutions Using Renewable Energy Inc
    +632 634 7945

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