Through the reintegration program of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), a National Livelihood Support Fund was launched to “assist” overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were retrenched due to the global financial crisis. But retrenched OFWs have to comply with the stiff requirements and be prepared for the long haul before they would be able to avail of the loan. Worse, it does not address the more serious problem confronting retrenched OFWs.
BY JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Through the reintegration program of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), a National Livelihood Support Fund was launched to “assist” overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were retrenched due to the global financial crisis. The said loan comes in different packages such as individual or group loans.
Those who would avail of the loan could use the money they borrowed either to establish a business or to renovate their existing business site. With this, the OWWA aims to help OFWs recover their lost income.
“Ano naman ang kamuwang-muwang ng isang factory worker sa paggawa ng feasibility studies?” (What does a factory worker know about writing feasibility studies?) asked Gary Martinez, chairperson of Migrante Intenational.
A feasibility study or a business plan is among the requirements that have to be submitted before OFWs could avail of a loan. Aside from these, OFWs should also submit a land title or a certificate of registration of a vehicle as collateral.
“Talagang doon pa lang (sa requirements) ayaw mo nang tumulong sa OFWs” (The stiff requirements shows their reluctance in helping the OFWs), Martinez said.
The nature of the program has also constrained OFWs from availing of the loan. Evanesa Valmadrid, a retrenched OFW from Taiwan and a recent recipient of the P50,000 ($1,044.71 at the April 17 exchange rate of $1:P47.86) loan said, “ Y’ong mga kasama kasi namin ayaw na rin kasi parang utang na naman ‘yan, e” (Most of my colleagues did not avail of the program because it meant incurring another debt.)