Posted on April 8th, 2009
The Philippine government recently announced an initiative that will help displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) become entrepreneurs by providing them, through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), a livelihood loan of P50,000.
The OWWA recently reported that fifty displaced OFWs from Western Visayas have availed of this program from the agency. The loans are intended to be start-up capital for small businesses to be set up by the displaced workers.
OFWs who have availed of the livelihood loans were required to attend the seminars and trainings conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry, to ensure they will have the right skills and mindset when they go into business. Some of the trainings include meat processing, preparation of no-bake pastries, and the manufacture of instant juice drinks.
Vivian Tornea, director of the OWWAâ€™s policy and Program Development Office said that displaced OFWs were still seeking employment elsewhere abroad at first. But as they encountered difficulty in finding new jobs, they decided to avail of the livelihood assistance from the agency. Many of those who have availed of the program plan to put up their own businesses, such as variety stores or small piggeries.
The loan, according to James Mendiola, OWWA officer-in-charge, is payable in two years with an interest of five percent per annum, but with grace period of three months. OFWs who availed of the assistance funds will pay P2,193.75 per month.
There are a total of 129 OFWs from Western Visayas who have reported the loss of their jobs to OWWA regional office as of April 3. They are mostly from construction and worked as board installers, machine operators, welders, factory workers and engineer.
The most number of the displaced workers from Western Visayas were from United Arab Emirates, which 44, while 29 were from Taiwan and 13 were from Qatar. They are further broken down into the following provinces: 71 were from Iloilo, 40 from Negros Occidental, 8 from Capiz, Guimaras,5, Antique 4 and 1 from Aklan.