DTI readies program for displaced OFWs
The Department of Trade and Industry has forged a partnership with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) to come up with entrepreneurship programs for Filipinos who were repatriated from the Middle East.
Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya noted the unfortunate situation of OFWs, especially those who were displaced from Saudi Arabia after they were retrenched due to the oil crisis. This partnership would thus not only support the national government’s reintegration program for OFWs, but would also dovetail with the trade department’s thrust to advance entrepreneurship.
“It’s good that we have partnered with Owwa because what we really want to happen is that they would still be able to help their families, be able to get a good and decent job, without leaving the country,” Maglaya said Thursday.
Under the Enterprise Development and Loan Program (EDLP) memorandum of understanding, the DTI and OWWA will jointly implement convergent programs, projects and services for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families who intend to set up their own micro, small or medium sized enterprises (MSMEs).
Maglaya said the partnership would help the OFWs and their families start a business. They would be given the option to either pursue it and remain in the country for good or continue working abroad and leave the business to their families or relatives.
The DTI will package MSME business models for promotion among prospective OFW-entrepreneurs or investors; facilitate or assist in the provision of resource persons for Owwa-organized entrepreneurship development training and related activities, and provide technical assistance to prospective and current OFW-entrepreneurs through the Negosyo Centers and network of mentors or experts both from the government and private sector.
The Enterprise Development and Loan Program, formerly the P2-billion OFW Reintegration Program, would be the most important component of the project, according to Owwa Administrator Rebecca Calzado.
Calzado said the partnership would help provide options for the OFWs to pursue business over overseas employment. “This is what the MOU is all about—for returning OFWs who wish to find an alternative to overseas employment. These are programs that the government can offer,” Calzado added.
In coordination with DTI, Owwa will also sustain the promotion of MSMEs as part of the entrepreneurship development component of the Reintegration Program for OFWs and refer OFWs or their families who intend to venture in businesses to DTI for access to training; make available its business loan program for OFW ventures, and ensure the support of its regional and overseas offices in the promotion of MSMEs among prospective OFW-entrepreneurs.
The DTI and Owwa also agreed to develop and distribute MSME materials as well as information and procedures on starting a business; holding of caravans and seminars in target areas locally and overseas, and project monitoring evaluation, counseling and mentoring of OFW-entrepreneurs, and improvement of MSME operations.