OFWs who are OWWA members may apply for reintegration loan assistance

A July 26, 2011 press release by the Department of Labor and Employment

Only overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), including former OFWs who were also OWWA members, are qualified to apply for an enterprise loan under the P2-billion OFW-Reintegration Program (OFW-RP).

National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) Director Vivian F. Tornea issued this statement following queries the NRCO received from non-OWWA members who expressed interest of availing business loans under the said program. The queries included those from Filipino working students abroad.

The OFW-RP is jointly being implemented by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), OWWA, NRCO, Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz explained that OFWs who have contributed US$25.00 to OWWA upon processing of their employment contract at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and OFWs who voluntarily registered and paid the OWWA membership contribution at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) at their job sites overseas are entitled to OWWA benefits and services, which include availing of business loans under the OFW-RP program.

She said the program aims to help OFWs prepare for alternative employment or business undertaking upon their return to the country.

The program provides returning OFWs with the following: (1) counseling on saving and financial management to help them manage and sustain their overseas earnings; (2) skills training, retooling, and upgrading to promote their employability and competitiveness; (3) employment facilitation services to help them in their job search, locally or overseas; and (4) livelihood and enterprise development assistance for OFWs who want to set-up businesses.

OFWs who are members of OWWA who want to avail of business loans under the OFW-RP are required to complete entrepreneurial development training (EDT), conducted every Thursday at the NRCO, OWWA Bldg., Intramuros, Manila.

Tornea said the training orients participants on various business opportunities, and on the basics of starting a business and preparing a business plan. It also assesses the participants’ capability to manage any business enterprise to help them find out and address their weaknesses before implementing their business plan.

She added that interested OFWs are required to submit business plans to the LBP and DBP, which will evaluate the viability of the business enterprise they want to set up.

The other requirements OFWs should submit to partner banks in applying for the reintegration loan assistance are the following: An OWWA certification that the borrower is a bona fide OWWA member, has completed EDT, and has good credit history; and biodata.

For a start-up business, other requirements are: a certificate of registration from the DTI, and a Mayor’s permit. For existing business enterprise, other requirements are: certificate of registration from DTI, Mayor’s permit, Income Tax Return (last three years), financial statements (filed with BIR in the last three years), latest interim financial statement, and statement of assets and liabilities.

Interested eligible borrowers may proceed to the nearest OWWA-Regional Office and LBP branch, or contact the NRCO at Tel. No. 526-2633 / 526-2392.