Beneficiaries of OWWA Program for Distressed OFWs Up 250% in 2018 —Cacdac

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Some 35,000 to 40,000 distressed OFWs have benefited from the government’s Balik Pilipinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Program this year, according to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) chief Hans Leo Cacdac.

Cacdac said this is a stark increase, or 250 percent, from the 3,600 distressed OFWs recorded in 2016 and 20,000 recorded in 2017.

The program targets distressed OFWs who want to come up with a business upon their return to the Philippines. Beneficiaries can receive from P10,000 to P20,000 from the government

Cacdac clarified that only distressed OFWs — regardless whether they are skilled or household service workers — are qualified for this program. These include victims of abuse as well as of human trafficking and illegal recruitment, among others.

“‘Yung programa ng OWWA kung mapapansin niyo ay ‘yan ay depende rin sa kakayahan ng pondo. P19.6 billion ang pondo ng OWWA, mukhang malaki pero kung ikukumpara mo ito sa SSS at GSIS na daang daang bilyon ang pera at assets, maliit parang mga junior lang kami sa mga insititusyon na nagbibgiay ng welfare service, insurance service o kung ano pa man,” said Cacdac.

“Kaya kailangan nating paka-ingatan ang mga programa natin, siguruhing kakayanin ng pondo,” he added.

Beneficiaries are taught financial literacy, entrepreneurial development training and livelihood skills training so that they can open their own business upon their return to the Philippines. —Ronaldo Concha/KBK, GMA News



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