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PIA Press Release

67 displaced OFWs in CAR focus on entrepreneurship

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (6 June) -- 67 displaced Overseas Filipino Workers in the Cordillera, out of the 222 that registered as of June 2, have ventured into entrepreneurship, through the help of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration's (OWWA) Filipino Expatriate Livelihood Support Fund or FELSF.

The 67 displaced OFWs ventured into family businesses and livelihood such as opening a sari-sari store, eateries, coffee shops, burger stand, frozen food selling, food processing, retailing, farming, cut-flower production, livestock/swine raising, and buy and sell business. Others opened up their own welding, computer and electrical services shops. Of the 67 FESLF beneficiaries, 31 came from Baguio City, 25 from different municipalities of Benguet, 8 from Kalinga, 2 from Mt Province and 1 from Ifugao.

Mr. Raul Person, a rig electrician in a drilling firm in Saudi Arabia who was among the 50 employees that was displaced last April due to the effect of the global financial crisis, has just opened up his own Building & Grounds Maintenance Services, which offers home service on electrical equipment, home appliances, lighting system maintenance and repair works.

In an interview with his wife, Mrs Ediltrudes Person, she bared that they decided to focus on entrepreneurship for now, as her husband still fills the trauma of being retrenched and still undecided if he will return or apply for another overseas job.

According to Mrs Person, they are very thankful of the OWWA's FELSF loan assistance. "It is a big break for us, with the 1-month salary separation pay my husband received, plus the P50,000 FELSF assistance from OWWA, we have put–up our business office in their home in Brown Alley Lower, Q.M. Baguio City," she said.

Mrs Person is also one of beneficiaries of OWWA's Microsoft Tulay Project, a free computer training for OFWs and their dependents, in partnership with the Blas Ople Foundation and Microsoft. She is also thankful that she can now apply what she have learned from the training, to help their family business.

Mrs. Gundelina Sale, a Middle East "gulf war" returnee and an active OFW dependent, (with children working abroad), is also thankful of the OWWA Microsoft Tulay Program. She acknowledged that the free computer training is big help for her, as she has opened computer business in their home in Buyagan La Trinidad. The training is also a big help for her, in terms of communicating to her children abroad through the Internet/web.

The OWWA-CAR has just graduated its 7th batch of trainees (10 per batch) Tuesday, June 2. According to Microsoft Tulay Instructor Roderick Joaquin, out of their 70 graduates, 44 have already applied or used the computer skills that they have learned. Some of them have opened computer shops, others ventured into souvenir/calling cards business, while others have applied what they learned in their own family businesses.

The Microsoft Tulay Training Certificates are also valid references, and would be big help for the trainees in their applications, if they decided to work locally or even abroad, Joaquin added. (PIA) [top]

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