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OFWs may avail of business loan without collateral

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MANILA - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Saturday said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are interested in starting or expanding an existing business may avail of loan assistance under the P2-billion reintegration program of the government without collateral, as long as the business remains viable and profitable.

Executive director Vivian Tornea of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) was reacting to queries from OFWs on whether they need to provide collateral to avail of loan assistance under the P2-billion reintegration program.

The program, which was launched during the celebration of the Migrant’s Workers Day and the conduct of the First National Congress of OFWs and Families in Pasay City on June 7, 2011, aims to provide OFWs an alternative to overseas employment.

The P2-billion reintegration program loan fund is a joint venture of the DOLE, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

The OWWA provided P1 billion, while the LBP and DBP gave P500 million each, for a total of P2 billion to the reintegration Fund. Involved agencies, including the NRCO, signed a memorandum of understanding on May 31, providing for their partnership and collaboration in the implementation of the program.

“OFWs with existing business or those who want to start any business or livelihood project may apply for loan assistance under the P2-billion reintegration program without collateral as long as they can guarantee that the business enterprise they want to put up or expand is viable and profitable, or earning, say, like P10,000 a month,” Tornea said.

She said interested OFWs need to submit business plans in applying for reintegration loan assistance at the OWWA regional offices, adding that the absence of collateral is not an impediment in their application.

She said, however, that the OWWA would closely scrutinize the OFW’s proposals, particularly the viability of their business or livelihood projects like market or purchase orders, in line with the program’s aim of helping OFWs find sustainable alternatives to overseas employment.

“The program aims to ensure that the OFW’s business or livelihood is sustainable not only in supporting the needs of their family but also in enabling them to generate jobs and contribute to community development so that they will no longer go back to their jobs abroad," Tornea said.

The reintegration program will support viable businesses of OFWs especially in agribusiness, tourism, education, and healthcare. Interested OFWs are advised to undergo a "reintegration seminar" at the NRCO, Blas F. Ople development Center, cor. Solana and Victoria Sts., Intramuros, Manila. The seminar will orient them on financial and business management, on various business and income generating livelihood undertakings, and other pertinent information they need in setting up and sustaining a business enterprise.

For details, OFWs may contact the NRCO Executive Director Vivian Tornea at Tel No. (632) 527-6184 and (632) 526-26-33; or email at nrcodole@yahoo.com.

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