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PIA Press Release

Virtual farming program to turn OFWs into investors

by RG Alama

Davao City (6 January) -- For brothers Ariopafeto "Dodong" and Anillo William "Willyboy" Baquerigo, years of toiling abroad have made them realize the need of investing their earnings.

The two are among some of the Overseas Filipino Workers who have invested in the Virtual Poultry Farming Program of the Maharlika Agro-Ventures Corporation, partner of San Miguel Foods Incorporated in its subcontracting program for the supply of chickens.

The Virtual Poultry Farming program brings about the establishment of a poultry company co-owned by Maharlika and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration member-investors. These OFW investors will be the holders of a newly-issued 7% Redeemable Preferred shares.

The OFWs can then tap into the internet to monitor the operations of the farm and also its finances. Vicente Lao, chairman and President of Maharlika Agro-Ventures says the concept was born in 2007 during a Mindanao investment mission to the Middle East. Lao noticed that many OFWs wanted to invest their hard-earned savings in businesses back home thus the need for a safe investment alternative.

The business concept according to Lao was to transform Overseas Filipino Workers into Overseas Filipino investors.

Dodong Baquerigo, worked for 17 years in Libya as a civil engineer, he says whenever he returns home in his hometown in General Santos he always spends his earnings, he says he was always thinking of finding ways to invest his savings rather than just always spending it.

His brother Willyboy an environmental technician for 10 years in a Cruise ship based in Miami, says in jest that rather in "investing" his earnings at Jollibee, his family's favorite dining place, he would rather want it to be invested and earn money.

Dodong is investing around P100-thousand while Willyboy is chipping in P50-thousand. The brothers part of a brood of 14 siblings, nine of which are working abroad.

The two briefly interacted with no less than President Gloria Macapgal Arroyo who graced the presentation of business undertaking of San Miguel Foods Inc to Maharlika Agro-Ventures Corporation, the Land Bank and the Development Bank of the Philippines. Held yesterday (January 5) at the Marco Polo Davao.

The President said that growing OFW remittances which now stood at $17-bn from $8-bn at the start of her presidency, is fueled by surge in investments in the country aside from providing expenses of families backed home.

The President cited Canada where, despite being hit by recession registered an increase of about 26% in investments for one year alone. When she asked Canadian OFWs the reason for such increase the answer was that they found the country as a safer investment haven. (PIA XI) [top]

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