The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday clarified that non-members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are not qualified to apply for business loan under the Aquino administration’s P2-billion reintegration program.
Vivian Tornea, director of DOLE-National Reintegration Center for OFWs, made the announcement due to increasing inquiries that non-OWWA members want to avail of business loans under the program.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said, “OFWs who have contributed $25 to OWWA upon processing of their employment contract at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and those who voluntarily registered and paid their OWWA membership contributions at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office at their job sites overseas are entitled to OWWA benefits and services."
However, Baldoz pointed out that the DOLE is studying the possibility of eventually including non-OWWA members in the loan program.
Launched in June 2011, the reintegration program will enable returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to engage in sustainable businesses or alternative employment in the Philippines.
The DOLE said the reintegration program provides returning OFWs with the following:
•counseling on saving and financial management to help them manage and sustain their overseas earnings;
•skills training, re-tooling, and upgrading to promote their employability and competitiveness;
•employment facilitation services to help them in their job search, locally or overseas; and
•livelihood and enterprise development assistance.
The DOLE said bonafide OFWs who are members of OWWA who want to avail of business loans under the program are required to complete an entrepreneurial development training.
Tornea said the training orients participants on various business opportunities and on the basics of starting a business and preparing a business plan.
It also assesses the participants’ capability to manage any business enterprise to help them find out and address their weaknesses before implementing their business plan. — JE, GMA News