MANILA, Philippines—From overseas Filipino workers to entrepreneurs.
Many OFWs have started to believe there are better opportunities beyond overseas work as more than 3,700 returning OFWs, including those who were repatriated from troubled countries, have ventured into business in 2012, according to the Department of Labor and Employment.
“We now reap the harvest of the government’s reintegration programs as we recognize and reach out to more returning OFWs who have sought alternative sources of income and increased employability through sustainable livelihood undertakings in their own homeland,” Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.
Baldoz said the opportunities provided by the government’s Balik Pinay!, Balik Hanapbuhay! Project made it easy for OFWs to decide to stay in the Philippines for good and to no longer seek jobs in foreign lands.
Citing the report of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Baldoz said that as of November 2012, the project has provided livelihood and financial assistance worth P38.9 million, which benefited 3,705 individual and group OFW-beneficiaries.
“The number of women OFW-beneficiaries doubled the 1,630 OFW returnees assisted by the project in 2011,” she said, adding that the extensive implementation of the project not only provided means for displaced women OFWs to plan, set up, start and operate a livelihood undertaking, but also equipped beneficiaries with skills that have been highly in demand in the local market.
“This project is a boost to local employability,” Baldoz added.
Among the businesses availed of by OFWs under the project included health and wellness undertaking such as reflexology, massage, home spa, cosmetology, food processing and handicraft.
Apart from the reintegration programs, the NCRO has also provided re-employment facilitation to 763 displaced OFWs who sought local and/or overseas employment; psycho-social and legal counseling to 5,109 OFWs; and capacity-building through the conduct of Entrepreneurial Development Training and Financial Literacy Orientation to 12,143 OFWs.
“More than helping our OFWs financially, the project helped them move forward in life. It boosted sustainable employment creation and increased productivity that will eventually provide equal and viable opportunities to help, if not, inspire more OFWs that there is, indeed, life after an overseas adventure,” Baldoz said.