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Livelihood support for the OFWs. MinDA Staff in a briefing with Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, Monday, January 6, outline the possible livelihood options that the returning OFWs can choose from following the brewing crisis in the Middle East.

DAVAO CITY - The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has drawn up livelihood programs for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who may have to come home because of the brewing crisis in the Middle East.

Among the interventions eyed by MinDA includes cattle, hog and poultry raising, sorghum, mango and organic rice production and agarwood propagation.

Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that the first staff meeting for 2020 which was attended by officials of MinDA on Monday, he urged them to prepare for the huge numbers of OFWs who may be repatriated by the Philippine Government.

"The preparations for the returning OFWs from the Middle East was one of the major issues discussed in the staff meeting today," he said.

The MinDA move came in the heels of public statements made by President Rodrigo Duterte expressing concern for the safety of Filipino workers in the Middle East as Iran and its allies prepare for an armed confrontation with the United States of America.

On Wednesday, January 8, MinDA also joined a crisis management meeting called by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III together with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

During the meeting, MinDA presented its preparations for the crisis which would mainly focus on livelihood and income earning projects which will be offered to the returning OFWs.

"The MinDA initiative to contribute to the preparations for the crisis was mainly because of the fact that many of the OFWs in Islamic countries in the Middle East come from Mindanao, including the Bangamoro Provinces," Piñol added.

He also stressed, "with proper preparation, the feared crisis could yet become a window of opportunity for the agricultural and economic development of Mindanao with the involvement of thousands of OFWs."

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