To make its programs and services more responsive and tangible to its member overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Board of Trustees (BOT), chaired by Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello lll approved the enhancement of the livelihood program of the agency dubbed as “Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! (BPBH).
From the livelihood package/assistance provided to its target beneficiaries which is a non-cash support via free entrepreneurial training and provision of a ‘starter kit’ to roll-out the OFW’s business, the BPBH has been transformed into a package of assistance consisting of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), including entrepreneurship development training to jumpstart the returning OFWs’ business ventures.
Aside from these services, OWWA offers additional assistance to its member-beneficiaries by referring potential marketing linkages, and partnering with other government institutions such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Agriculture (DA), among others, help OFWs learn the ropes in technical aspects as well as techniques in marketing strategies to sustain the livelihood project.
“The essence of BPBH is to teach OFWs to be their ‘own bosses’ hence teach them the value of “self-reliance”, and, eventually, “self-esteem”. Since the businesses will be their own, they should be able to sustain the ‘interest’ to make it as their means of livelihood thus making the most out of the revolving capital. Hopefully, they are able to change their own transformation from being OFWs, into entrepreneurs,” OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac said.
Target beneficiaries of the Program are returning OWWA members, active or non-active who were displaced by hostilities or wars/political conflicts, policy reforsm or changes by host governments; victims of illegal recruitment or human trafficking or other distressful situations; Distressed wards at the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Resource Centers who are due for repatriation; and OWWA-members who were employed by foreign employers which are beset with financial difficulties due to economic conditions such as the construction and maintenance companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
For additional details and documentary requirements, qualified members are advised to apply to any OWWA Regional Office nearest their residence, or log on to OWWA website at www.owwa.gov.ph, or contact numbers 8917601 up to 24, local 5217; or contact OWWA OPCEN thru telephone numbers 833-6992 or mobile number/SMS 09175908654.
What are Included in the Assistance Package?
Aside from the P 20,000 and BPBH’s training program for the target beneficiaries, OWWA also allows for marketing linkages since it is partners with different government agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to allow for the beneficiaries to understand different marketing and business techniques that may come in handy when the business materializes.
Who Can Avail of the BPBH?
- Returning and distressed OFWs who are active or inactive members of OWWA
- OFWs who have no plan of returning abroad
- Those who were displaced by hostilities or wars/ political conflict
- Victims of human trafficking
- Victims of illegal recruitment
- Those who were employed by foreign employers who were overcome by financial problems
- Those who experienced other situations that the OWWA deems stressful for the OFW
*The program must be availed not later than a year upon returning to the Philippines.