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Facebook, OWWA expand digital literacy program for OFWs

/ 12:58 PM June 05, 2019
Facebook, OWWA expand digital literacy program for OFWs

Facebook’s Head of Community Affairs in the Asia Pacific region Beth Ann Lim and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Cacdac answer questions from the media on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, regarding the expansion of the digital literacy program for overseas Filipino workers. INQUIRER.net photo / Christia Marie Ramos

Updated @ 12:59 a.m., June 6, 2019, to add more quotes

MANILA, Philippines — Social media giant Facebook has partnered again with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to expand its digital literacy program to reach more Filipino workers abroad.

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“‘Yung digital literacy ang tawag ng Facebook, pero kung susumahin ‘yon ang ibig sabihin lang no’n, tinuturuan natin yung OFWs [overseas Filipino workers] natin, lalo na yung mga baguhang OFWs, ng tamang paggamit ng Facebook, lalo na yung pagkilatis at pag-spot ng fake news para hindi sila malinlang sa Facebook,” OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac told reporters on the sidelines of the Migrant Workers’ Day celebration on Wednesday.

In 2018, around 140,000 OFWs were trained under the digital literacy program, which was conducted in the Philippines for workers before they fly abroad.

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This time, the partnership between Facebook and OWWA expands its program in top destinations for OFWs including Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Middle East.

“We’ve had around 140,000 trained or informed about digital literacy, safe use or proper use of Facebook, critical thinking in terms of spotting fake news and making critical or useful decisions on their own. And of course, we intend to pursue this further because there is nothing better than a well-informed OFW that could be categorized as the highest form of protection,” Cacdac said.

The expanded digital literacy program will cover digital discourse, online privacy, safety, and information literacy among others.

Facebook cited government estimates which showed that around 2.3 million OFWs were deployed between April to September in 2018.

“We recognize that overseas Filipino workers depend on our platforms to stay connected to their families and everything important to them back home. Facebook will continue supporting OFWs and their families to ensure they have a positive, safe, and authentic experience on our platforms, wherever they are in the world,” Beth Ann Lim, Facebook’s Head of Community Affairs in the Asia Pacific region, said during the Migrant Workers’ Day celebration program.

Fake job offers

According to Lim, the program will cover a myriad of topics including the identification of misinformation.

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“The curriculum that we offer covers a breath of topics, a lot of that is how to identify misinformation and how to identify fishing scams and other things,” she said.

She noted that, besides identifying job offer scams, it would also be important that OFWs report such misinformation.

“A lot of times this comes down to people not understanding how to learn to be more aware and then also how they can also report, reporting is also an important tool..so that we can take action,” she said.

Venturing into business

OFWs will also be provided with online business workshops during the digital literacy program.

In 2018, Facebook and OWWA’s digital literacy program trained around 600 Filipino workers during its marketing workshop in the Philippines.

“I think one of the biggest values of having entrepreneurial-related activities on Facebook is that it levels the playing field for our OFWs in terms of entering the business sector because before we had Facebook, they (OFWs) have to contend with the big establishments,” Cacdac said.

“Everybody has an equal shot in terms of marketing, promoting, knowledge enhancement, it’s all on social media,” he added.

(Editors: Jonathan P. Vicente and Alexander T. Magno)

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TOPICS: digital literacy program, Facebook, local news, OWWA, Philippine news update
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