Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz recently signed Administrative Order No. 120, Series of 2016, or the Guidelines on the Implementation of Balik Pinay, Balik Hanapbuhay, to effectively provide and expand the employment and economic opportunities of distressed women overseas Filipino workers.
“The DOLE Balik Pinay, Balik Hanapbuhay (BPBH) is a combination of training and production intervention program to provide distressed women OFWs with livelihood skills to improve their socio-economic well-being by expanding their employment and economic opportunities.
“Under the Balik Pinay, Balik Hanapbuhay, livelihood skills training and starter kits are provided to distressed women OFWs to enable them to start self or wage employment undertaking,” said Baldoz.
The beneficiaries who may avail of the Balik Pinay, Balik Hanapbuhay program are distressed women OFW returnees and those who were sheltered in Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Resource Centers (MWOFRCs).
Under A.O. No. 120-16, Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) personnel shall prepare all distressed women OFWs, whether returnee to sheltered in MWOFRC, for productive reintegration to the country.
The POLO personnel shall complete on-site processing of all requirements for entitlement to BPBH program; train the BPBH beneficiaries on their preferred livelihood skills and on the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and business planning; and ensure the submission of business plan as a requirement for graduation and issuance by POLO of the Certificate of Training on Livelihood Skill and Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship and Business Planning.
For on-site livelihood training, the heads of POLO shall ensure the availability of livelihood skills training courses at MWOFRC based on the need and viability of the undertaking.
The POLO head shall ensure that all the skills training are TESDA guided in terms of training facilitation, assessment, and certification; handled only by trainers with National TVET Trainer Certificate; and in instances where POLOs are able to partner with external entities or institutions in the host country. The POLO heads shall ensure that training programs will lead to the acquisition of the National Certificate or Certificate of Competency.
The administrative order also stated that training expenses shall be cost-shared by the Labor Attaché and Welfare Fund as indicated in the POLO Work and Financial Plan, while the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) shall fund the starter kits to be distributed to the beneficiaries.
The DOLE Regional Offices shall, through the NRCO, shall identify and select priority clients and submit a copy of the passport with picture and page stamp and accomplished NRCO form and Business Plan.
“Skills training for identified livelihood shall be conducted through TESDA and other accredited training institutions,” said Baldoz.
The NRCO, as program manager, shall conduct regular field visit to assess program implementation and provide technical advisory assistance to program implementers.
The DOLE Assessment Team composed of the NRCO, Internal Audit Service (IAS), Financial Management Service (FMS), and Planning Service (PS) may conduct actual site visit/consultation with project beneficiaries to assess the overall impact of the livelihood activities and to make appropriate recommendations for improvements.
The NRCO has reported that in 2015, the Balik Pinay, Balik Hanapbuhay Project provided livelihood starter kits and financial assistance amounting to 14.5 million to 1,456 OFW beneficiaries. From 2011 to 2014, the Balik Pinay, Balik Hanapbuhay provided livelihood starter kits worth P42.36 million to 4,236 beneficiaries.
The Balik Pinay Balik Hanapbuhay Project was institutionalized under DOLE Administrative Order No. 77 Series of 2011 to assist returning OFWs through livelihood grants of P10,000. Priority is given to victims of illegal recruitment and trafficking, and other distressed and displaced household service workers.
Under the Balik Pinay, Balik Hanapbuhay Project, returning women OFWs may avail of skills training and grants in the form of business starter kits for home-based income generating occupations, such as cosmetology, haircutting, foot spa, food processing, massage, reflexology, baking, native snack preparation, handicraft, flower arrangement, dress making, beauty care, and pedicure and manicure. The business starter kits come in the form of equipment, tools and jigs, raw materials, and small start-up capital.