THE Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. initiated talks to forge a labor cooperation agreement with the British Virgin Islands (BVI) to protect the rights of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
The Embassy’s delegation, recently led by Consul General Iric C. Arribas, virtually met with the BVI Premier Minister, Hon. Andrew Fahie.
Through its Philippine Overseas Labor Office, the Embassy continues to advocate for ethical and fair recruitment practices among stakeholders.
It has been actively engaging with host country counterparts in the US and the Caribbean Islands to establish relations and to discuss concerns and issues that affect OFWs.
Joining Arribas in the virtual meeting was Labor Attaché Angela Trinidad, Assistant Labor Attaché Marie Josephine Borromeo, Welfare Officer Mae Codilla, and Ms. Florenda Ruffell Smith (President of the Filipino Association of the BVI – a local Filipino organization).
Together with Fahie were the Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Carvin Malone and the Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon. Vincent Wheatley.
Arribas thanked the BVI chief for expressing support to this call of the Philippine government “to have partners in the international community to promote safe, orderly and regular migration.”
Discussions also touched on exploring areas of cooperation with BVI in the fields of disaster risk reduction and management and, investment promotion.
Coinciding with the meeting was a consular outreach mission to renew the passports of 274 OFWs in this British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, verify 68 employment contracts and to process 137 OWWA membership applications. The mission was conducted with the support of the officers and volunteers of the Filipino Association of the BVI.
The British Virgin Islands is home to approximately 600 Filipinos, mostly working in the financial service sector, construction industry, and in the hotel and hospitality industry