Sen. Bam Aquino encouraged returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and those affected by the deployment ban to visit the nearest Negosyo Center in their area to get the necessary assistance in starting their own business.
“May maaasahan kayong libreng tulong upang makabuo ng kabuhayan at negosyo. Inaanyayahan namin ang kayo na bumisita sa pinakamalapit na Negosyo Center,” said Sen. Bam, principal author and sponsor of the Negosyo Center law or Republic Act No. 10644, the Go Negosyo Act.
“Sa tulong ng ating Negosyo Centers, makakapagtayo ang ating OFWs ng sariling negosyo na maaari nilang pagkunan ng ikabubuhay para hindi nila kailangang iwan pa ang pamilya para mangibang-bansa,” added Sen. Bam.
As of last count, there are around 800 Negosyo Centers in different parts of the country, ready to cater to the needs of those who want to start or expand their own business.
The senator said that while this is not the ultimate solution to the issue, every agency and every Filipino with the opportunity to support our returning OFWs must do their part and lend a helping hand.
The Negosyo Center provides access to markets and financing for businesses, training programs, and a simplified business registration process, thus helping ease of doing business and fast-track government processes in putting up a business.
The law mandates the establishment of Negosyo Centers in all municipalities, cities and provinces that will assist micro, small and medium enterprises in the country.
The Go Negosyo Act was passed during Sen. Bam’s term as chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship. It was the first of 19 laws passed by Sen. Bam in the 16th and 17th Congress.
In the 17th Congress, Sen. Bam 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 enacted into law, the measure will integrate 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.
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.
Aside from the livelihood aspect, Sen. Bam’s measure 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.