OWWA: Education and Training Programs

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is a government welfare institution providing programs and services for overseas Filipino workers, including pre-departure seminars, legal or psycho-social counseling for labor or welfare-related cases, education and training and financial assistance for repatriation and reintegration. Under its Education and Training Program, OWWA has specific scholarship programs for the children and dependents of overseas Filipino workers (see below).


Screengrab of OWWA’s official website

Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP)

College scholarship grant offered to qualified dependents of active OWWA members who will take up a 4-5 year baccalaureate course in his/her chosen academic institution. EDSP scholars are granted a P60,000 per school year scholarship.

OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (ODSP)

Scholarship program that offers financial assistance to qualified dependents of OFWs who receive a monthly salary of not more than US$400.00 and who shall enroll in any four-year or five-year course or associate course leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree in a state college or university. It is implemented nationwide with each province, including NCR, given automatic slots.

Skills for Entrepreneurship Scholarship Program (SESP)

Provides technical-vocational training assistance to qualified and active OFWs and their dependents (not more than 21 years old) at any TESDA accredited training centers with a maximum of P14,500 per course.

Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP)

The Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP) is designed primarily for survivors of deceased OFWs who were active OWWA members at the time of death. It is a special benefit package intended to cover the continuous education of an eligible dependent, regardless of his/her present educational level, until after completion of tertiary education or a technical/vocational course of his/her preference, and/ or the provision of a livelihood activity to surviving member of the family to augment their income.

Tuloy Aral Project (TAP)

The Tuloy-Aral Project (TAP) is a brainchild of Administrator Marianito D. Roque that was launched in 16 December 2004. The Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) assist in promoting and identify OFWs who are successful, financially stable and in good standing to act as prospective donor. OFW organizations may also volunteer to act as donors.

Moral Enrichment for Children of OFWs

Absentee parenting is often considered one of the social costs of the continued migration of Filipino parents. Experts claim that the emotional impact of migration on children usually take the form of erosion of family structures and relationships, psychological distress, adoption of risky behavior and increased vulnerability to violence, abuse and exploitation (Institute for Labor Studies, 2011).  The effects of physical separation to children left behind by their OFW parents could be mitigated with the help of various support systems that would guide them in their daily lives. These support systems could be their relatives, friends, school, church, and other institutions that offer services to children of OFWs. With the boom in the interest and access of the youth to social media and other activities, strong personal values are important to ensure that they will not be exposed and hooked to activities that would lead them to harm. With the absence of their parents, it is vital that their core values are strong and stable.*

The activity was a one-day seminar with Atty. Alexander Lacson (as the resource person), a Filipino lawyer, author, lecturer, philanthropist and politician best known as the author of “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country,” held at the OWWA Multipurpose Hall on November 28, 2015 and attended by OFW children (OWWA scholars, children of OFW Family Circle members, etc.).


Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. “Programs for Dependents of OFWs.” (Document)

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. Programs & Services. Retrieved 10 November 2015.

* Terms of Reference, Activity : Moral Values Re-orientation for Children of OFWs

Commission on Filipinos Overseas


The Commission on Filipinos Overseas is a Philippine government agency that serves to promote and uphold the interests and welfare of Filipinos abroad, and to preserve and strengthen ties with Filipino communities in other countries. Established in 1980 by Batas Pambansa Blg. 79, the agency runs under the Office of the President and is mandated to:

  • Provide assistance to the President and the Congress of the Philippines in the formulation of policies and measures concerning or affecting Filipinos overseas;

  • Develop and implement programmes to promote the interest and well-being of Filipinos overseas;

  • Serve as a forum for preserving and enhancing the social, economic and cultural ties of Filipinos overseas with the motherland; and

  • Liase on behalf of Filipinos overseas with appropriate government and private agencies in the transaction of business and similar ventures in the Philippines.



Screengrab of CFO’s official website at http://www.cfo.gov.ph.

The CFO caters to Filipino permanent migrants or permanent residents overseas, Filipinos who have become naturalized citizens or obtained dual citizenship, Filipino youth overseas, descendants of Filipinos abroad as defined in the Batas Pambandsa Blg. 75, marriage migrants or spouses of foreign nationals and participants of exchange visitor programs. Its programs and services include pre-departure orientation seminars for emigrants, initiatives to encourage Filipinos abroad to engage in diaspora philanthropy, and material or financial contributions for development projects, as well as cultural activities and educational programs for young emigrants to learn about Filipino history and culture.

Below are some of CFO’s programs for children of migrants and young Filipinos overseas. All italicized descriptions are taken directly from the agency’s official website  and the 2015 primer (see reference list below). For more information of CFO’s other programs and services, visit their website at http://www.cfo.gov.ph.

Philippine schools overseas

Philippine schools overseas (PSOs) are duly-registered educational institutions operating outside the Philippines and implementing the basic education curriculum of the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd). PSOs are required to comply with the requirements and regulations of the government of the Philippines and of the host countries. A valid permit to operate from the host country is required before applying for accreditation from the Philippine DepEd.

PSOs are established to address the educational needs of children of Filipinos overseas, and eventually facilitate their reintegration into the Philippine educational system. The schools also provide a venue for the teaching and propagation of the Filipino culture and heritage among Filipino youth overseas, and serve as a locus for Filipino community activity.

As of 2015, there are 40 PSOs operating in 10 countries with an estimated 32,000 students currently enrolled, from pre-school, elementary, and high school levels.


Philippine School – Bahrain, the first PSO to be a candidate for accreditation by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities. Source: Commission on Filipinos Overseas – Philippine Schools Overseas.



In 2015, the CFO and PSOs held a poster-making contest for students, in celebration of the Month of Overseas Filipinos and International Migrants Day. Source: Commission on Filipinos Overseas – Philippine Schools Overseas.

Pre-departure registration and orientation seminars

Filipino emigrants are those individuals who leave the country to settle permanently abroad. they are required to register with the CFO and attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) which prepares them for settlement overseas. Country-specific PDOS are conducted for Filipino emigrants to address their adjustment concerns in their destination countries. Various topics discussed include: travel regulations, immigration procedures, cultural differences, settlement concerns, employment and social security concerns, and the rights and obligations of Filipino migrants.

Children of emigrants, aged 13 to 19, are required to attend the Peer Counseling Program to prepare the youth migrants meet their socio-psychological needs attendant to their settlement overseas. During the sessions, they can express and discuss their particular concerns such as schooling, peer pressure, bullying, discrimination, language and culture barriers. 


A facilitator conducts a pre-departure peer counseling session for young Filipinos aged 13 to 19 at the CFO headquarters in Manila. Photo taken during the Enable Kids Project exchange visit in the Philippines.

Lakbay-Aral Program

Lakbay-Aral is a Filipino term which means “travel study”. It is a two-week cultural immersion program in the Philippines. The Lakbay-Aral, developed and implemented by CFO since 1983, enables Filipino youth overseas to rediscover their Filipino roots and appreciate the richness and diversity of their heritage. The program combines lectures on Philippine history and language and guided tours to scenic and historical landmarks. Interaction with Filipino students, public officials and members of indigenous communities and participation in local festivities are also included in the program.

The activity is an immersion program in the Philippine studies which enables participants to learn and appreciate Filipino socio-cultural dynamics and environment through field tours combined with on-site lectures conducted at historical landmarks and scenic spots in selected urban and rural areas in the Philippines.

An actual exposure to Filipino customs, traditions, arts and crafts is highlighted by the participants’ participation in traditional festivities. The program also offers opportunity for interaction with Filipino students, government and community leaders, and members of the indigenous community.

The program is open to all Filipinos or of Filipino descent abroad who are 15 years old and above, and physically fit.

Peso Sense 

Peso Sense – The Philippine Financial Freedom Campaign aims to improve the financial acumen of both Overseas Filipinos (OFs) and their beneficiaries. The program, funded by the generosity of The Western Union Foundation in collaboration with Western Union® Agents e–Business Inc. and Petnet Inc., is executed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO). (Note: Peso-Sense has modules for students and young adults).


Commission on Filipinos Overseas Official Website.

Commission on Filipinos Overseas (2015). CFO Primer: Responding to the Challenges of Migration and Development. 2015 Edition. Manila: Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Available online (click here).

International Organization for Migration and Scalabrini Migration Center (2013). Country Migration Report: The Philippines 2013. Makati City / Quezon City: IOM-SMC. Available online (click here).

Philippine Schools Overseas, Commission on Filipinos Overseas. “PSB Garners Candidate Status to PAASCU.” News Release.

Peso-Sense – The Philippine Financial Freedom Campaign Official Website.



Sa Iyong Sulok – Commission on Filipinos Overseas (SIS-CFO)

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) has launched a free online guidance and counseling service for Filipino migrants who need assistance upon their arrival and during their adjustment phase in countries of destination. “Sa Iyong Sulok (SIS): Itanong Mo Kay Sis” is a website that consolidates useful information to guide and support overseas Filipinos, including youth migrants and children of migrants.

Aside from the mandatory pre-departure program the CFO provides for outgoing Filipino migrants, the online platform also serves as additional counseling and information support for migrants who have arrived in their destination countries by linking users to the program’s partner counselors and experts. The website features a directory containing the contact information of guidance counselors, consultants and mentors, as well as a list of migrant-serving organizations in top destination countries for Filipino migrants (the US, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Australia). For more information, check out the website at https://sis.cfo.gov.ph/


Screenshot of the CFO-SIS website as seen in http://sis.cfo.gov.ph.

Inter-country adoption – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)


The Philippines’ intercountry adoption program is implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). To know more about the DSWD’s procedures for intercountry adoption, click here, and also see the links provided below under ‘References.’

With the passage of the Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995, the Intercountry Adoption Board (ICAB) was created to act as Central Authority in carrying out the country’s intercountry adoption policy. The ICAB is an attached agency of the DSWD and is tasked to formulate and develop rules, regulations and policies on the implementation of intercountry adoption services and the promotion of the protection of Filipino children adopted abroad. The Board also oversees the accreditation of foreign adoption agencies through the DSWD and accredits child-caring or child-placing agencies. It also establishes the guidelines for selecting and matching of parents, and for verifying if a child is qualified for adoptions. For a list of the ICAB’s specific programs and services, click here.



Screenshot of intercountry adoption requirements and procedures as posted in the Department of Social Welfare and Development official website.

ICAB Screenshot

Screenshot of the Inter-country Adoption Board’s official website.




Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) official website

DSWD (2015). “Foreign, local child caring agencies continue to advocate for legal adoption,” 11 September.

DSWD, “Intercountry Adoption: Requirements and Procedures”

Intercountry Adoption Board Facebook page

Inter-country Adoption Board Official website

* A copy of the Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995 (Republic Act 8043) is available at the Philippine Commission on Women website. Click here.

* For more information about the adoption of foreign nationals, click here.

* Institutional logos taken from the DSWD official website and the ICAB Facebook page.