'Be your own boss' with a easy-to-pay loan from P2B reintegration program fund, Baldoz urges OFWs

Date Posted: August 28th, 2012 01:50 PM

In a bid to turn more OFWs into becoming successful entrepreneurs, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday challenged OFWs to improve their lives by going into business with the help of a loan from the national government’s P2-Billion OFW National Reintegration Program Fund.

“We want our OFWs to be their own boss by investing on livelihood projects and considering entrepreneurial opportunities through the assistance of the government’s strengthened reintegration program," said Baldoz.

With the welfare and protection of OFWs a priority of the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, our reintegration program ensure their socio-economic stability," she remarked.

Baldoz issued the challenge after receiving an update report from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) on the P2-Billion OFW National Reintegration Program Fund, which highlights, among its other accomplishments, the business feat of Nicasio Bolingkit, an OFW-turned-entrepreneur who availed of a loan from the fund.

According to the report, Nicasio loaned the amount of P800,000 which helped him expand his dressed-chicken business, “Manukang Bayan Atbp”, in Zamboanga City.

Believing there are better long-term opportunities beyond overseas work, the former OFW, who worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 18 years, opted to invest in his small business in 2010.

He first attended the OWWA’s entrepreneurship development program where he saw the viability and prospect for growth of his chosen trade. After the program, he borrowed money from the fund, which he used to start the business.

"Overseas employment is not permanent. It entails a lot of hardships and sacrifices in foreign lands," Nicasio said, adding:

"Darating ang panahon na uuwi rin tayo dito sa Pilipinas. Mabuti nang may pinaglaanan tayo sa ating pinaghirapan sa pakikipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa."

Secretary Baldoz said that the Land Bank of the Philippines, which is the OWWA's partner in the program, has already approved 410 loan applications of 432 OFW beneficiaries since the loan fund was established last 07 June 2011.

"The total loan amount has already reached P261,707,063.20," Baldoz said, citing the OWWA’s update report.

Of the 432 borrower-beneficiaries, 305, or 71 percent, were male while 127, or 29 percent, were female.

Regionally, OFW-borrowers from Region 4-A, the CALABARZON region, topped the most number and amount of business loans, with 107 projects worth P57.33 million, followed by Region 3, (92 projects worth P52.21 million); Region 6 (37 projects worth P29.29 million); and Region 5 (35 projects worth P16.54 million). The rest of the regions have OFW-entrepreneurs borrowing over P1 million.

"These business ventures funded by the loans generated 1,458 jobs," Baldoz said.

Region 4-A borrowers, mostly engaged in food production, trading business, agri-business, and services, registered the highest number of generated jobs with 331. Regions 3 and 6 borrowers followed with 297 and 158 jobs created, respectively.

Launched last year during the celebration of the 1st National Congress of Overseas Workers and Families, the P2 billion OFW National Reintegration Program Fund aims to support OFWs and their families planning to put up businesses to maximize their gains from working overseas, mitigate the social cost of migration, and cushion the impact of forced repatriation.

The loan program is managed by the Land Bank of the Philippines and carries an annual rate of 7.5 percent in declining balance with a flexible payment scheme maximum of 5 years and an incentive grace period of two years. A borrower can borrow a maximum of P2 million.
The P2-Billion OFW National Reintegration Program Fund is in response to the 22-point labor and employment agenda of President Aquino III, specifically Item No. 19, which mandates the DOLE to facilitate the re-integration of returning OFWs by favorable terms of investments, tax incentives, access to government financial institutions, and other benefits that are offered to foreign investors.

It further realizes Item No. 15 of the agenda, which emphasizes on giving assistance to OFWs in achieving financial stability through training, investment, and savings programs.

“As we intensify welfare and protection measures for OFWs, we continue to empower more workers who have sought for alternative income and increased employability through sustainable livelihood undertakings in our homeland,” Baldoz stressed in pitching for the fund.

"This program empowers our OFWs in boosting sustainable employment-creation and increased productivity. With more successful small businesses, it will inspire more OFWs and provide them hope that, indeed, there is life after working abroad," Baldoz finally said.


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