The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration upgrades their “Balik Pilipinas! Balik Hanapbuhay” (BPBH) livelihood program for OFWs who have returned to the Philippines and are planning to establish their own business. This livelihood program enables qualified OFW returnees to be entrepreneurs by providing training, a starter kit and now, cash assistance for their chosen business.
What is the BPBH Livelihood Program?
The program is focused on returning OFWs who plan to manage their own business. The previous BPBH initially consisted of non-monetary support like entrepreneurship training and a starter kit amounting to P 10,000 consisting of goods that can help jumpstart the business. Recently, OWWA upgraded their BPBH and threw in P 20,000 as part of the assistance package.
The aim of the BPBH according to OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac, is for OFWs to learn the value of “self-reliance” and “self-confidence” since they have been working for their employers overseas, whereas in their own business, they can be in control and be their own bosses. This program by the way, is different from the OWWA reintegration loan program where qualified OFWs can loan up to P 2,000,000 and should be paid back not longer than 7 years.
What are Included in the Assistance Package?
Aside from the P 20,000 and BPBH’s training program for the target beneficiaries, OWWA also allows for marketing linkages since it is partners with different government agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to allow for the beneficiaries to understand different marketing and business techniques that may come in handy when the business materializes.
Who Can Avail of the BPBH?
- Returning and distressed OFWs who are active or inactive members of OWWA
- OFWs who have no plan of returning abroad
- Those who were displaced by hostilities or wars/ political conflict
- Victims of human trafficking
- Victims of illegal recruitment
- Those who were employed by foreign employers who were overcome by financial problems
- Those who experienced other situations that the OWWA deems stressful for the OFW
*The program must be availed not later than a year upon returning to the Philippines.
How did BPBH Help Conie Plaza?
Conie was a recipient of the old scheme with non-cash assistance. She opted to start her own sari-sari store because she got sick during her employment in Malaysia. She went back to the Philippines to recover and as she did, she applied for the BPBH to earn extra income. Even with the old scheme, Conie was able to manage her business well, now with the P 20,000 cash, it can make a big difference.
The OFWs who are working abroad deserve nothing but fairness and equality as they sacrifice themselves for the welfare of their families. The BPBH can provide a good start for OFWs like Conie who experienced difficulties during her employment. Finally, earning profit while being with one’s family can be possible with the BPBH. Visit www.owwa.gov.ph for more detailed information about their programs.