Filipinos from two of Belgium’s biggest cities, Brussels and Antwerp, gathered together for an orientation seminar organized by the Philippine Embassy in Brussels on the services and programs of the Social Security System (SSS), Pag-IBIG Fund, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) on 26 to 27 October. The seminar, which is part of the Embassy’s Gender and Development (GAD) program, is aimed at promoting the financial well-being and encouraging the spirit of entrepreneurship among Filipinos in Belgium.
The event also marked the first time a joint outreach mission was undertaken by the Embassy and PTIC-Brussels (DTI’s representative office in Belgium) with SSS London, UK Branch, Pag-IBIG London Office and the recently-opened OWWA/POLO Berlin, which concurrently covers Belgium.
The orientation was conducted by Commercial Attaché Benedict Uy of PTIC, Labor Attaché Delmer Cruz of POLO-Berlin, Welfare Officer Sylvia Gabriel of OWWA-Berlin, SSS Representative Thelma Villanueva-Venturanza of SSS-London and Member Services Office Maria Fe “Yen” Mangalile of the Pag-ibig Fund in London.
Around 160 Filipinos availed of SSS, Pag-IBIG, OWWA and POLO services during the seminars held on the 26 and 27 October in Brussels and Antwerp, respectively. They also consulted with the social services agencies on their concerns regarding retirement pensions, housing loans and securing their overseas employment certificates.
The Embassy plans to organize a similar seminar and outreach mission with the partner service agencies again in Brussels, a yet-to-be-determined major Belgian city and Luxembourg in mid-2020.