Twenty-eight (28) personnel of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) assigned and/or identified to assume the duties and responsibilities of an Assistance-to-Nationals (ATN) officer in the Home Office and at Foreign Service Post completed the Course on Assistance-to-Nationals. The Course was participated in by personnel from the Home Office (Internal Audit Service, Office of Policy Planning and Coordination, Office of the Undersecretary for Civilian and Consular Affairs, and the Office of Consular Affairs ASEANA) and Consular Offices (CO Bacolod, CO Cebu, CO Cotabato, CO Dasmarinas, CO Dumaguete, CO Iloilo, CO Legaspi, CO Lucena, CO Malolos, CO Tacloban, CO NCR East, CO NCR Northeast, CO North, and CO NCR South.)

The Functional and Transition Programs Section of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) conducted the Course from 16-25 August 2021.

The Course equipped DFA personnel with the knowledge of Philippine laws and policies on overseas Filipinos and  introduced them to the basic procedures on ATN matters. The Course also addressed the need of the Department’s ATN officers for capacity building and skills enhancement, as they must be properly trained and provided with the right tools to be able to handle ATN cases effectively and efficiently.

With the increase in the number of Filipino Migrant Workers, there is also an increase in the need for assistance regarding problems and personal concerns that affect their work performance and relations with their  respective employers, host countries, and families in the Philippines. This Course was designed to train ATN officers with the necessary skills to address the pressing problems that they might encounter while handling ATN cases. As future ATN officers, they must be committed to promoting and protecting the rights and welfare of overseas Filipinos. They should be alert and sensitive in assisting distressed overseas Filipinos, as well as possess the necessary skills in counseling to assist Philippine nationals effectively.

The lectures and sharing of experiences from subject matter experts from the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs of DFA, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Justice provided a platform for insightful exchanges and knowledge transfer between resource persons and participants on how assistance to nationals is managed, organized, and implemented not only in the Home Office, but at the Foreign Service Posts as well.

Session with Assistant Secretary Enrico T. Fos (third row, second tile from the left), 
   Office of Migrant Workers Affairs, Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers
   Affairs, DFA  on the topic Legal Mandate: R.A. 7157 – Foreign Service Act and R.A.
   8042/R.A. 10022-Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act.