Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced the holding of a business plan competition for returning seafarers, a project led by the National Reintegration Center for Returning OFWs (NRCO) to encourage social entrepreneurship and eventually support the growth of jobs in hometowns and communities.


Citing a report of NRCO Director Chona M. Mantilla, Secretary Baldoz said the nationwide competition, dubbed, “From Seafarers to Entrepreneurs: The 2015 NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition (Harnessing Seafarers’ Capacities for Business Enterprise Development),” will start accepting entries on 26 June 2015 and until 30 August 2015.


“This competition is DOLE’s innovative way of promoting sustainable livelihood and micro-enterprise by harnessing the earnings and savings of overseas Filipinos, especially our seafarers, as one source of capital for economic development. This is one of the thrusts in the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan, and in the 2011-2016 Labor and Employment Plan where the promotion of productive investment and entrepreneurship is highly encouraged among OFWs,” said Baldoz.


She added that the event is one strategic reintegration program of the DOLE to assist OFWs in securing the future of their families by capacitating them in carefully investing their hard-earned finances.


The NRCO, a new agency under the DOLE, is implementing the project in partnership with the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines, or ISP. It will be officially launched in a media event on 26 June 2015 at the 12th Floor of Jemarson Place Building, 1626 P. Hidalgo Lim Street, Malate, Manila.


Director Mantilla said that the awarding ceremony for the business competition will be on 4 December 2015.  The Top 10 winners will receive incentives and other consolation prizes, and the grand winner will get P500,000 cash prize, all to be put up by the ISP. The details of the competition will be announced during the media launching and will be posted at ph.


Mantilla said the business competition is covered by a memorandum of agreement that she had signed last week with ISP President Capt. Gaudencio Morales and witnessed by the NRCO Program Coordination and Monitoring Division Chief Melvin Caseda; Policy and Program Development Division OIC-Chief Dennis Cabato; ISP Agribusiness Director Capt. Danny Ricohermoso, ISP Secretary Princess Camille Castillo.


The Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines is a non-stock and non-profit organization formed and established for the welfare of Filipino seafarers and their families.


“The ISP aims to create avenues where the seafarers’ families can improve their lives while the seafarers are on active duty; and to provide ways for their easier social reintegration after the culmination of their overseas jobs,” said Capt. Morales during the signing of the MOA.


The NRCO, on the other hand, is mandated to develop, promote and implement a national agenda on sustainable return and reintegration to address the multi-faceted reintegration needs of returning Overseas Filipino Workers and their families, including the development of their hometowns and/or communities.


“The primary clientele of the NRCO are returning OFWs who are classified as undocumented Overseas Filipino Workers; displaced, distressed and repatriated OFWs; returning OFWs or OFWs who return to the Philippines on a temporary basis with the intention of going back abroad; OFW returnees or OFWs who return to the Philippines with the intention to stay in the country on a permanent basis; and families of returning OFWs,” Mantilla explained.



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