Cash assistance will now be part of the "enhanced" livelihood program for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who want to come home for good and set up their own business.
From non-cash support via free entrepreneurial training and provision of a 'starter kit' to roll-out the OFW's business, the package of assistance will now consist of P20,000 cash, including entrepreneurship development training, according to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
The enhancement of the livelihood program, dubbed "Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay!" or BPBH, was approved by the OWWA Board of Trustees chaired by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
"The essence of BPBH is to teach OFWs to be their 'own bosses' hence teach them the value of 'self-reliance' and, eventually, 'self-esteem'," said OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac in a statement.
Aside from the aforementioned services, OWWA also offers additional assistance to its member-beneficiaries by referring potential marketing linkages and partnering with other government institutions such as the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture.
This will help the OFW learn the ropes in technical aspects as well as techniques in marketing strategies to sustain the livelihood project, OWWA said.
"Since the businesses will be their own, they should be able to sustain the 'interest' to make it as their means of livelihood thus making the most out of the revolving capital," Cacdac said.
Target beneficiaries of the program are:
- returning OWWA members;
- active or non-active members who were displaced by hostilities or wars/political conflicts, policy reforms or changes by host governments;
- victims of illegal recruitment or human trafficking;
- distressed wards at the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Resource Centers who are due for repatriation; and
- OWWA-members who were employed by foreign employers which are beset with financial difficulties due to economic conditions such as the construction and maintenance companies in Saudi Arabia.
"Hopefully, they are able to change their own transformation from being OFWs, into entrepreneurs," said Cacdac. —KBK, GMA News