A record year for OFW reintegration
3,705 OFWs opted to start small business with the DOLE’s Balik-Pinay! Balik-Hanapbuhay! Project; double the number in 2012
Saying that the government’s reintegration programs have enriched local opportunities for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday bared that the year 2012 has been a year where more OFWs ventured into entrepreneurship.
“We now reap the harvest of the government’s reintegration programs as we recognize and reach out to more returning OFWs who have sought for alternative sources of income and increased employability through sustainable livelihood undertakings in their own homeland,” Baldoz said, during the DOLE’s year-end press conference in Intramuros, Manila.
Baldoz said the opportunities provided by the DOLE’s Balik Pinay! Balik-Hanapbuhay! Project made it easy for OFWs to decide to stay in the Philippines for good and to no longer seek jobs in foreign lands.
Citing the report of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Baldoz said that as of November 2012, the Balik-Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay! Project has provided livelihood starter kits and financial assistance worth P38.9 million which benefitted 3,705 individual and group OFW-beneficiaries.
The number of women OFW-beneficiaries doubled the 1,630 OFW returnees assisted by project in 2011.
The project’s livelihood assistance component, which includes the availment of P10,000 pesos and the provision of ready-to-rollout, self-employment package of services, has benefitted 3,001 OFW returnees and families.
Meanwhile, the year-round skills training component also provided skills training for 495 women OFWs on entrepreneurial ventures from training institutions, such as the TESDA, Department of Trade and Industry, Technology Resource Center, and the Agricultural Training Institute.
“The extensive implementation of the project not only provided means for displaced women OFWs to plan, set-up, start, and operate a livelihood undertaking, but also equipped our OFW-beneficiaries with skills that are highly in-demand in the local market which increased their chances of finding better job opportunities,” Baldoz explained.
“This project is a boost to local employability,” she added.
Health and wellness business undertakings, such as reflexology, massage, home spa, cosmetology and production of bath soap, scented oils, herbal medicine, skin/health care products; house repairs, such as plumbing, welding, electrical servicing, appliance repair; food processing, such as native snack preparation and other food and beverage preparation; personal accessories repairs and maintenance, such as cellular phone and bag repairs; and handicraft, such as souvenir items, fashion jewelry, native slippers, bags and accessories production, are the businesses availed by OFWs under the Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay! Project.
Aside from the reintegration programs, the NRCO has also provided re-employment facilitation to 763 displaced OFWs who sought for local and/or overseas employment; psycho-social and legal counseling to 5,109 OFWs; and capacity-building through the conduct of Entrepreneurial Development Training and Financial Literacy Orientation to 12,143 OFWs.
“More than capacitating our OFWs financially, the project helped them move forward in life. It boost sustainable employment creation and increased productivity that will eventually provide equal and viable opportunities to help, if not, inspire more OFWs that there is, indeed, life after an overseas adventure,” Baldoz ended.