More than 30 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Lebanon have come home to Ilocos Norte since repatriation efforts of the national government began in July and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has been at the forefront of helping these displaced workers.
Leonavella Dadiz, OWWA officer said, the assistance being extended to the returnees does not end in bringing them home safely but also in livelihood programs for them and their dependents.
“Though some have shown interest in the latest training program of the government called SUPERPINOY, they are still hesitant to go back (abroad) just yet. After what happened it’s but natural for them to have second thoughts already,” she said.
“Their primary concern now is more on how they can claim back wages from their employers and some personal stuff left in Lebanon,” Dadiz added.
She explained that the displaced contract workers may avail of the regular programs being extended by OWWA to its members.
“Provided that they are legal, documented OFWs and not illegal entrants or tourists who worked as domestic helpers,” she said.
She reported that OWWA has an existing tie-up with a local commercial bank in the province for the provision of individual loans worth P200,000 at 14 percent interest per annum with collateral.
“The applicant will have to undergo screening and business counseling to equip them with the necessary skills to venture into business,” she explained.
“The amount should be used for livelihood and not as placement fee,” she stressed.
“Another livelihood program being offered to active and former OFWs and their dependents is the OFW groceria,” she said.
“They can form a group of 5 or 20 people and apply for the 50,000 grocery package. This is loaned out with no interest, payable in two years,” she said.
“Members of the group are given skills training, simple bookkeeping and leadership training also,” Dadiz explained
The OWWA Officer also shared that children of OFWs can apply for a college scholarship.
“Fourth year graduating high school students who are children of active OFWs can apply provided they belong to the upper 5 percent of the graduating class and they pass the test,” she said.
“The successful applicant will receive P30,000 per semester which will cover tuition, book and clothing allowance,” she said.
The student should maintain a 2.0 grade point average to remain as an OWWA scholar, Dadiz added.
Aleli Aggasid-Batara, PIA Ilocos News