After the 3rd Global Summit of Filipinos in Diaspora in February 2015 and in preparation for the forthcoming Regional Summit of Filipinos in the Middle East in 2016, the CFO has taken initial steps to gather leaders of Filipino associations and groups in the Middle East and Rome through a series of fora entitled, Ugnayan sa Middle East (U+ME=E3), Ugnayan sa Roma (U+Ro=E3) and Ugnayan sa Nordic countries (U+NO=E3 ): Engagement, Empowerment, Enterprise.

In order for the Commission to continue reaching out to more Filipinos in various regions of the world to discuss means of cooperation for diaspora engagement, more series of forums, discussions and consultation meetings with overseas Filipinos, associations and groups in Europe and Asia-Pacific are being implemented through Ugnayan sa Europe (U+E=E3) and Ugnayan sa Asia-Pacific (U+ASPAC=E3): Engagement, Empowerment and Enterprise.

The Ugnayan Series presents an opportunity for CFO and the Philippine Embassies around the world to enhance their relationship with and strengthen its services for migrants. Through this project, networking among the growing number of Filipino community organizations can also be instrumental in encouraging diaspora philanthropic activities in support of Philippine development.

In addition, the consultative meetings complement efforts to  encourage participation of Filipino migrants in the forthcoming national elections in 2016 through overseas voting, and to avail of financial literacy training educating migrant Filipinos, especially prospective returnees, on sound financial management practices.

Participants in the Ugnayan Series include representatives of Filipino communities, the Philippine Schools Overseas, diaspora councils, the Philippine diplomatic corps, former presidential awardees, and leaders of Filipino associations/ organizations abroad.

The Ugnayan Series will result in a more empowered Filipino community as they will be encouraged to support or participate in entrepreneurial and investment activities in their local communities in the Philippines. At the same time they will be introduced to the CFO’s Peso Sense Program: The Philippine Financial Freedom Campaign which will enhance their financial literacy and management.

The immediate output of the Ugnayan Series are as follows:

1. Updated directory of community associations in the Middle East, Rome, Nordic countries, Europe and Asia pacific regions;
2. Strengthened networks of Filipino associations in the Middle East, Europe, Nordic countries, and Asia Pacific regions;
3. Commitment among participants to be involved and help sustain programs and activities for migrants organized by the Diplomatic Posts and the CFO, and vice versa;
4. Application of the lessons learned in the PESO Sense – The Philippine Financial Freedom Campaign;
5. Increased number of registered and voting overseas Filipinos in the 2016 national elections; and
6. Increased awareness and willingness to participate in local development initiatives in the Philippines, especially in the following regions: Bicol, Region IV-A, and Region VI-Western Visayas under the UNDP and EU-supported Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) Phase II Program.

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