MANILA, Philippines - Over P73 million has been loaned to displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to help them get back on their feet, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said.
The OWWA said that as of May 11, the Filipino Expatriate Livelihood Support Fund (FELSF) has already lent over P73,063,155 to 1,473 of its OFW members who were displaced by the financial crunch.
FELSF loans are available up to P50,000 for OWWA members whose work contracts abroad were shortened as a consequence of the economic downturn since October 2008. [See: OWWA willing to lend P50K for displaced OFWs]
These loans, OWWA said, are without collateral for two years. The interest rate is only five percent per annum and borrowers start paying back only after a grace period of 90 days.
Loan applicants may qualify by attending a three-day course on starting a livelihood business. The course, a grant by the Department of Labor and Employment, covers entrepreneurial basics, skills training, practice materials, and training kits.
“By transforming setback into opportunity, they take the first step to become self-employed. OWWA will help them start new enterprises on a modest but manageable scale, or revive existing ventures. Either way, nothing beats growing your own pet project and being your own boss," said OWWA chief Carmelita Dimzon.
She added that the processing for more loan applications is still ongoing. [See: OWWA to give more livelihood packages for displaced OFWs]
Application forms are available at the National Reintegration Center for OFWs at Blas F. Ople Center, BFO Development Center, Solana St. corner Victoria St., Intramuros, Manila. Those from the provinces may also approach their nearest OWWA regional office.
Launched last January, the FELSF is part of a P100-million credit facility created by Labor Secretary Marianito Roque under the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program. - Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV