Feature: 33 displaced OFWs in Region 8 now happy entrepreneurs
Tacloban City (June 21) -- While investors in other countries have been folding because of the global economic crunch, Region 8 has acquired new entrepreneurs due to the very same reason.
Take the story of Evelyn A. Servana, who was a domestic helper in Hongkong, receiving a salary of $3,480 per month until without any reason and without notice, she was terminated from her job.
Evelyn came home to Tolosa, Leyte, not knowing what the future will bring. Fortunately, Evelyn heard of the Filipino Expatriate Livelihood Support Fund, an easy lending program with P100 million funding under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program.
Evelyn visited the Office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Region 8 which is headed by Ms. Juliet Tan and she was able to borrow P50,000 that will enable her to start her own sari-sari store.
Evelyn considers herself lucky to be given this chance to start a living and she is very grateful to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for this assistance extended to those in need.
Meanwhile, Rafael Tolibas, 50 years old of Guingawan, Tanauan, Leyte worked as F/M –Millwright operator in Qatar until he came home in March of 2009 because of retrenchment. Rafael is now a sari-sari store owner, thanks to the Filipino Expatriate Livelihood Support Fund.
Another OFW from Tanauan, Leyte is Crisanto Songalia who used to work in Taiwan as factory worker. OWWA 8 also helped him thru the FELS Fund and so today, Mr. Songalia is now a businessman, operating a fish pen.
Then there is 25 years old Dante Macabante of Pinabacdao, Samar who used to work in Australia as site engineer. After availing of the FELS Fund, Engr. Macabante is now a businessman engaged in digital printing.
Stories like that of those mentioned are repeated many times in Region 8, OFWs who are now entrepreneurs, thanks to President Gloria Multi Cab for Hire operator, lechon manok vending, meat processing, internet café, duck raising, meat vending, lotto outlet, and rice thresher for hire, among others.
Upon the directive of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the OWWA came out with the Filipino Expatriate Livelihood Support Fund (FELSF) as safety net for their displacement due to the global financial crisis.
After OFWs have availed of assistance from the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) for the initial assistance package, any interested OFW may avail of the FELSF, which offers a Non-collateral Loan Window where the displaced OFWs can loan up to fifty thousand pesos (Php50,000.00) with a very low interest of five percent (5%) per annum, payable in 24 months.
Government banks can also extend loans through their collateral windows if worker decides to expand his business enterprise.
The loan, Ms. Tan said, is available at a low five percent interest per annum with no collateral and is payable for over 24 months with an interest-free grace period of 80 days.
The OWWA chief in the Region said that an OFW must first attend the free business courses on the production and management of their livelihood projects to borrow from the FELSF.
"These skills are important to an OFW with the ambition of transforming into an entrepreneur with a sustainable, income-producing project for the long term," Ms. Tan said.
The loan requirements are: OWWA membership; proof of displacement due to the global financial crisis; business proposal and a promissory note; and marital consent for married borrowers.
The Labor department on the other hand defined a displaced OFW due to the financial crisis as those who have been terminated after October 15, 2008 due to factory closures or company downsizing.
The National Reintegration Center for OFWs and the OWWA Regional Welfare Offices will endorse or pre-qualify OFWs as displaced based:
If loan applications are completed with required documents, OWWA will immediately act on loan applications upon its submission. Attendance in the free business courses is a pre-qualifying phase. (PIA 8) [top]
- On the inclusion of the name of applicant in the list of displaced OFWs provided by the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOS) to appropriate DOLE agencies;
- Upon validation of the information directly with the POLOS;
- Upon interview and validation personally with the applicant to prove that his/her displacement is due to the global financial crisis.