OWWA reports 4,000 jobs already generated through P2-B Reintegration Program
The P2 billion National Reintegration Program Fund for OFWs administered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, an attached agency of the DOLE, for OFWs and their families has already generated close to 4,000 jobs all over the country.
This was the report of OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon yesterday to Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Chairman of the OWWA Board of Trustees.
“The OWWA, which implements the P2-B National Reintegration Program jointly with the Landbank of the Philippines, has recorded 854 approved loan applications as of end of December 2013, with total loans of P632.531 million granted and released,” said Dimzon in her report.
She said that 59 percent of the loans were used to fund small and medium businesses in the non-agriculture sector, such as general merchandizing, groceries, water purifying stations, auto supply, hardware, trucking, and RTW.
On the other hand, agriculture-based or related enterprises OFWs engage in using the loans range from grains trading, piggery, poultry, agriculture supplies, post-harvest, bakery, fruits and vegetables farming, copra trading, and fishery. These constitute 41 percent of the loans approved. Region 3 has the highest number of fund borrowers, followed by Region 4-A.
Noting that the national reintegration program is slowly gaining headway as indicated by the number of OFWs availing of the loans, Secretary Baldoz directed the Project Management Committee of the program to strengthen further its implementation to encourage more OFWs to put up their own business and eventually help generate employment.
“I am happy to note that agri-based enterprises are fast catching up with non agri-businesses that our OFWs are venturing into using the money from the P2-B National Reintegration Fund,” Baldoz said, adding:
“Last year, I have instructed the Project Management Committee to cut down and simplify further the requirements for availment and we had met with Landbank officials in this regard. I expect that this year, the committee can already report to me and the OWWA Board that access to the program has become faster and easier, but without sacrificing the quality and sustainability of the businesses that the loan program creates,” Baldoz said.
Launched by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in June 2011, the P2-B National Reintegration Program is a facility which lends between P200,000 to P2 million to any OFW who wants to establish a business so it will be more attractive for them to stay in the country for good. The loan has an interest of only 7.5 percent per year and payable in five years with a grace period of two years.
The loan program seeks to enhance protection of migrant workers which is a major mandate of the DOLE.
“The protection of OFWs is a major mandate of the DOLE. It protects and promotes the rights and welfare of OFWs and their families through the provision of social, economic, and legal programs and services in pursuit of President Aquino III’s economic vision of “a government that creates jobs at home, so that working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity; and when its citizens do choose to become OFWs, their welfare and protection will still be the government’s priority,”‘ said Baldoz.
For businesses funded under the program to be sustainable, Secretary Baldoz had advised OFW borrowers to thoroughly study and understand their business plans prior to filing their loan application.