Good news to all overseas Filipino workers!
OFWs can now avail up to 2 million pesos loan through a joint project from the Department of Trade and Industry or DTI and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) were signed between DTI and OWWA for the Enterprise Development and Loan Program (EDLP) which will assist OFWs when they return to the country through the form of entrepreneurship.
Repatriated OFWs were the main beneficiary of EDLP which will help then venture into small business.
EDLP, formerly known as the OFW Reintegration Program, seeks to help OFWs and their families who intend to venture into micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) build their own businesses.
DTI-Regional Operations Group (ROG) Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said the partnership came at a good time as some OFWs, especially from the Saudi Arabia, have recently been retrenched because of oil crisis.
On the other hand, OWWA Administrator Rebecca Calzado said the EDLP is the most important part of the social preparation for OFWs upon their return to the Philippines.
OWWA will be responsible for the promotion of the MSMEs as part of the entrepreneurship development component of its Reintegration Program for OFWs. Aside from that, it will also organize entrepreneurship development training, refer prospective OFW- investors to DTI and offer its business loan program for expansion or start-ups done by OFWs.
The DTI will package priority MSME business models to be offered to prospective OFW-entrepreneurs and investors, and provide resource persons for OWWA-organized entrepreneurship development trainings and related activities.
The Philippine Social Security System or SSS is a social insurance program for private company employees and self-employed Filipinos in the Philippines. It provides retirement and health benefits to its members, aside from the loans available.
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) is entitled to be an SSS member and has the privilege to avail the Direct Housing Loan Facility which aims to provide socialized and low-cost housing for them.
To apply for a housing loan, an OFW must know if he or she is a qualified OFW. How? SSS defines an OFW as a private sector worker who is:
- currently deployed with a contract processed through the POEA or authenticated by the Embassy abroad.
- with employment contracts awaiting renewal/deployment
- a Filipino national but who is now a citizen or immigrant of a foreign countries but is interested in buying a housing unit for his family who is still in the country.
- a long-term resident overseas Filipinos who wish to avail of housing packages either for themselves when they retire or when they visit the Philippines and/or for their extended families.
OFWs who fit under these conditions should also be a member of SSS to be able to apply for a housing loan. The OFW must meet the following requirements:
- Member should be a certified Overseas Filipino Worker.
- A voluntary OFW member of SSS.
- Has at least 36 months contribution and 24 continuous contributions in the period prior to the application.
- The OFW is not more than 60 years old at the time of application and must be insurable. Members who are aged 60 years at the time of application will have a maximum loan term of 5 years.
- OFW was not previously granted an SSS housing loan.
- Has not been granted a final SSS benefits.
- OFW borrower and spouse is updated in the payment of their SSS loan(s), if any
The housing loan applied for will be approved after meticulous screening and if the purpose is:
- construction of a new house or dwelling unit on a lot owned by the applicant free from lien/encumbrances
- purchase of a lot and construction thereon of a new house or dwelling unit
- purchase on existing residential unit which may be a house and lot, a condominium unit or a townhouse.
Upon completion of the needed documents, an OFW may file the housing loan application at the nearest SSS cluster branch or at the Housing and Business Loan Department, 5th Floor, SSS Bldg., East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.
Aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were warned by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) about a new online scam that offers fake employment to Canada, Mexico and Europe.
POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac announced in an advisory that Omegal Manpower Services Limited, the recruitment agency offering the overseas job through e-mail in exchange for a placement fee, is illegitimate and does not exist.
Cacdac also added that overseas job applicants should ignore unsolicited emails that offer jobs in hotels and hospitals but requires to pay fees for testing, interview and language seminar or visa orientation.
He also encouraged aspiring OFWs to check with POEA if the recruitment agency they’re dealing with is legal or licensed to avoid being victims of illegal schemes.
Overseas Filipino workers were asked to validate first the authenticity of job offers through POEA’s website, mobile application or telephone hotlines at 722-1144 and 722-1155.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has lowered the crisis alert level for overseas Filipino workers in Libya after the recommendation of a Security Assessment Team (SAT).
From alert level 4, DFA downgrade it to level 2 after the SAT confirm the prevailing security situation. An alert level 2 means there are still threats to life, security and property of Filipinos arising from internal disturbances, instability and/or external threat. It also instruct OFWs to restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places, and be prepared for evacuation.
New deployment of OFWs to Libya is still prohibited by the DFA, but OFWs with valid and existing contracts can return if they want to.
DFA raised alert level 4 in Libya last 2014 when the country was deemed unsafe for overseas Filipino workers or OFWs after the fight between rival militia groups escalated.
Christmas is in the air once more. Just a few months before December comes, many overseas Filipino workers are getting ready to fill their balikbayan boxes to be sent home.
Balikbayan boxes were sent by OFWs to their families here in the Philippines as a gift and a way of saying all the sacrifices by working abroad are for them.
Unfortunately, many of these balikbayan boxes were either tampered or half opened when delivered to the recipient. Some boxes even failed to reach the intended receiver.
To avoid these from happening, here are tips for OFWs when sending their balikbayan boxes:
- Check first the list of Foreign Freight Forwarders and their Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) accredited Philippine counterparts/agents at http://www.dti.gov.ph/dti/index.php/resources/listings.
- OFWs must make sure it does not have any item not allowed to be sent through the balikbayan boxes.
- Declare all the contents of your balikbayan box and its corresponding value, if possible.
- OFWs can request for a proper or much better packing, wrapping, strapping, sealing, and labeling of the balikbayan box.
- Keep all the shipping documents such as official receipt, cargo receipt, invoice, house Bill of Lading, shippers’ declaration or waybill.
- Get the name and contact details of the consolidator’s Philippine counterpart or agent. Make sure that this information is also indicated in the shipping documents you have.
- Monitor the movement of your cargo from origin to destination. OFWs can do this by asking details of the shipment like name of shipping line, vessel’s name, vessel’s voyage number, container number and the expected time of departure and arrival of your balikbayan box.
- OFWs can also get an insurance for their balkbayan box. Simply ask the freight forwarder on how to have one.
- Call your family to check on the balikbayan box with the Philippine agent even before it arrives. This way, they can also track your package.
- OFWs must inform their family to inspect the seal and wrapping of the balikbayan box. Tell them not to accept the package if it seems to have been opened. Ask the delivery agent to double checked it if they doubt it has been tampered.
OFWs should also be careful of fake representatives from freight forwarding companies. Ask for proper identification and validate first with the mentioned forwarding company if they are indeed an authorized personnel to transact business with.
OFWs or their family in the Philippines can file a complaint for any loss, non-delivery or damage in their balikbayan box to DTI – Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) at Ground Floor, UPRC Building, 315 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City. You can also reach them by sending an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling DTI – Direct at 751-3330 or 0917-8343330 for assistance.
* Items not allowed to be sent through the balikbayan box.
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