By Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) Updated July 06, 2011 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The government is offering loan assistance for
Filipino workers who may be displaced in Saudi Arabia because of the new
hiring policy implemented in the Middle East kingdom.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), under the P2-billion
reintegration program, is offering no collateral loans for overseas
Filipino workers (OFWs) who would want to put up or expand an existing
business in the country.
Vivian Tornea of the OWWA National Reintegration Center for OFWs said
OFWs may apply for a loan as long as they can guarantee that the
enterprise they intend to put up or expand will earn at least P10,000
Applicants should submit business plans to OWWA regional offices.
"The program aims to ensure that the OFW's business or livelihood is
sustainable not only in supporting the needs of his 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.
OWWA administrator Carmelita Dimzon said they have been receiving
numerous inquiries from Filipino workers in the Middle East who were
inspired by OFWs who chose to return to the country and put up businesses.
"We have been receiving calls from OFWs, including professionals from
all over the world, asking how they could avail of our program so they
would be able to put up dental clinics or agribusiness and eventually
stay in the country for good," Dimzon said.
Saudi Arabia has suspended the processing of employment contracts of
Filipino household workers to protest the base monthly pay of $400
demanded by the Philippine government for domestic helpers.
Labor officials said the government is preparing contingency measures to
minimize the effect of displacement of thousands of workers from Saudi
The government, meanwhile, has lifted the deployment ban to Bahrain.
After the lifting of the ban, the Bureau of Immigration has imposed a
tight pre-departure screening of Filipinos leaving for the Middle East
nation to prevent an influx of illegal workers. – With Pia Lee-Brago,
Rudy Santos, Evelyn Macairan