Bam eyes more livelihood, business opportunities for OFWs

A senator wants to integrate programs on entrepreneurship for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to help them start their own business, making it unnecessary for them to leave their families to work abroad.
“Mas maganda kung hindi lang tuwing Pasko o kada dalawang taon lang nabubuo ang pamilya ng OFWs. Mangyayari ito kung mayroon silang sapat na pagkakataon at kaalaman na makapagsimula ng negosyo,” said Sen. Bam Aquino.
Sen. Bam has filed Senate Bill No.  648 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Assistance Act to boost support for the OFW community and the families they leave back home.
If passed into law, the measure integrates programs on livelihood, entrepreneurship, savings, investments and financial literacy to the existing efforts of embassies to equip OFWs with knowledge to start their own business.
“Sa pamamagitan nito, magkakaroon sila ng sapat na kaalaman para magtayo ng sarili nilang negosyo upang hindi na sila mangamba sa kanilang pagbalik sa Pilipinas,” the senator stressed.
In addition, Sen. Bam also encouraged families of OFWs to visit the nearest Negosyo Center to get a proper advice on what kind of business to establish while their loved ones are working abroad. 
“Mahalaga na pag-uwi ng ating mahal sa buhay sa Pilipinas, makikita nila ang bunga ng kanilang pinaghirapan,” said Sen. Bam.
Aside from the livelihood aspect, Senate Bill No. 648 mandates the Public Attorney’s Office to establish a help desk in every international port of exit in the Philippines to offer legal service, assistance and advice to departing migrant workers.
“It also sets effective and efficient information dissemination on labor, employment, and migration data through various mediums, including social media, to provide OFWs with credible formation” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam recognizes the immense contribution of OFWs to the Philippine economy, saying that from January to August 2015, their remittances reached $16.21 billion or P764 billion.
Despite this, OFWs remain vulnerable to poor working conditions and abusive employers. In addition, their employment abroad is no guarantee of financial success.
In a survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) last September 2015, only 38.2 pecrcent of the 563 household‐respondents said that a portion of the money from OFWs are set aside for savings.
“This is very alarming since many OFWs come home without a plan for retirement,” Sen. Bam said.


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