9th OFW Summit in Pasay highlights concepts of financial literacy, entrepreneurship

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019   •   238

MANILA, Philippines – At least 4,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and their dependents attended the 9th OFW and Family Summit held on Tuesday at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

The event, with the theme “Kabuhayan sa Sariling Bayan,” highlighted the concepts of financial literacy and entrepreneurship as well as business start-ups and trends.

The summit was spearheaded by the Villar Family through its foundation, the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG), in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and other government and non-government agencies.

“Masaya po kami dahil napakaraming kababayan na OFW ang nagpunta at nagpakita ng interes sa mga livelihood or business opportunities dito sa Pilipinas na maaari nilang paglagyan ng kinita nila abroad para magkaroon ng sariling kabuhayan dito sa atin,” Sen. Cynthia Villar said in a separate statement.

“Gusto talaga namin na maraming mahikayat na ang katuparan ng mga pangarap ay hindi lamang makukuha kapag tayo ay nag-abroad. Pwede din tayong magtagumpay sa sariling bayan natin,” she added.

Resource persons invited to the summit from various agencies discussed topics on financial literacy and provided guidance on how to seize opportunities and become entrepreneurs.

“Iyon ang intention namin na in the future na babalik sila sa Pilipinas, dapat y’ong mga pamilya nila, mayroon ng hanapbuhay na naghihintay sa kanila para pwede na silang mag-retire at mag-operate na lang dito sa Pilipinas.” Villar told reporters on the sidelines of the summit.

“Hindi nila kailangang magtayo ng restaurant kung ang galing mo care-giving; or ikaw ay graphic artist, pwede kang graphic designer at ‘yon ang iyong negosyo,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Concerns of OFWs on where to find accredited recruitment agencies, what agencies to ask help from for problems abroad, and their rights as overseas workers were also tackled during the event.

Participants also enjoyed a raffle draw with prizes such as a house and lot, motorcycles, pangkabuhayan showcases, appliances, and other gadgets. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

BI to install e-gates at NAIA for departing OFWs

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday said it is set to launch electronic gates (e-gates) at the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for overseas Filipinos workers (OFW) departing the country.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said a memorandum of agreement (MOA) has been signed with the service provider for the pilot testing of the e-gates, initially at the NAIA Terminal 2 immigration departure area.

The bureau said the service provider has committed to initially installing and operating two e-gates and biometric machines at NAIA’s Terminal 2 for the exclusive use of departing OFWs and airline crew of Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Under the MOA, the bureau said the provider is allowed to demonstrate the functions and capability of its machines and that “there is no obligation yet on the part of BI for the equipment.”

The agency said it is eyeing to set up the e-gates before the holiday season begins to hasten processing of passengers and reduce queues in immigration counters at the airport.

It will be recalled that the e-gate system was implemented last year in the immigration arrival areas of NAIA’s three terminals and the international airports in Mactan-Cebu, Davao, and Clark.

The noticeable drop in the incidence of long queues at airports has been attributed to the successful implementation of the project.

“We are optimistic that the same success will be replicated when the scheme becomes fully operational in our airports’ immigration departure areas,” Morente said.

He added that the new lanes of e-gates – which are seen to ensure smoother and faster processing – are in recognition of the OFWs’ contributions to the country’s economic development.

The BI said other passengers will continue to undergo regular immigration inspection, although it is studying the feasibility of making the scheme available to permanent residents and other ACR I-Card holders.

The bureau said the project’s pilot testing and demonstration would last for six months.

The agency added that it is targeting to process at least 100,000 passengers before the project could become fully operational.

The project’s entire cost will be shouldered by Ascent Solutions, a Singapore-based IT company that supplied the country’s e-gates.

BSP eases lending process for overseas Filipino workers

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2019

(FILE) Filipino overseas workers from Lebanon inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City south of Manila, Tuesday 01 August 2006. EPA-EFE/MIKE F. ALQUINTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced it has enhanced the guidelines on the granting of consumer loans for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in order to facilitate their access to bank credit.

The Monetary Board said it has issued Resolution 1729 approving the enhanced policy expressly allowing banks to grant consumer loans for OFWs without prior approval from the BSP.

The central bank said the move is in line with its financial inclusion and empowerment agenda.

“The revised guidelines likewise liberalize the rules limiting the grant of peso consumer loans to certain types of visa holders,” the BSP said in a statement.

“In particular, peso consumer loans, except residential real estate and housing loans, may also be extended to all eligible foreign nationals with valid visa issued by relevant Philippine authorities,” it added.

Embassy officials and employees based in the Philippines are also allowed to avail of any type of peso consumer loans, the central bank said.

“The enhancements are premised on the banks’ continued adherence to sound credit underwriting practices and effective control measures in managing risks involved in granting peso consumer loans to OFWs and eligible foreign nationals,” the BSP further stated.

“The new guidelines promote greater access to bank financing for these borrowers while expanding and broadening market segment for banks,” it added.

DOLE now accessible worldwide through mobile app

Marje Pelayo   •   November 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) now have ways to stay updated on the services and offers of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through a mobile application.

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the DOLE mobile app will provide Filipino workers across the globe with the latest news and regulations as well as keep them informed of their rights and benefits at work.

It will also provide them immediate access to the labor departments’ hotline numbers, and contact details of labor offices in their host countries especially during emergencies.

The DOLE mobile app is free to downloaded from the Google Play Store for Android devices and the App Store for Apple devices.

“This application is intended to provide a major channel for our workers and OFWs to get in touch with DOLE and the POLO ( Philippine Overseas Labor Office),” Bello said.

“Through the use of modern technology, they can relay their labor related concerns and complaints,” he concluded.

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