Dir. Malou Reyes from OWWA RWO-II
Pres. Gondelina G. Amata from NLDC
Mr. Roy Buna from D'Asian Hills Bank
Ms. Jane Manucdoc from ASKI
In 2004, the National Livelihood Support Fund or NLSF (now National Livelihood Development Corporation), entered into a Program Management Agreement with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for the implementation of the Livelihood Development Program for OFWs (LDPO). The agreement is supported by several OWWA Board Resolutions (No. 050 and 052 series of 2003, No. 002, series of 2004) which affirmed the outsourcing of the implementation of the LDPO to the NLSF.
A joint OWWA-NLSF Implementing Rules and Regulations was crafted and approved in 2004 and over the years, particularly on May 31, 2006, amendments were made to the IRR to: (a) introduce two (2) loan packages (collateral and non-collateral loan windows) with corresponding terms and conditions specified for each of the loan window; (b) include legally organized groups of OFWs as among eligible clients/borrowers; (c) introduce modifications on the loan package corresponding to requirements for group borrowers (e) amend the departments/division that will comprise the OWWA Program Monitoring and Evaluation.
The LDPO Program has been implemented from 2006 to present, however, the uptake of the program was not sustained, and therefore, it declined right after its peak during the first 2 years. A Consultation-Dialogue-Workshop activity was agreed upon by the two agencies after a couple of meetings to assess the program performance and address the issues surrounding its lackluster performance.
On July 28 to 29, 2014, a 2-day activity was held in Punta de Fabian in Baras, Rizal, which aimed to refresh the participants with the LDPO program features, provide an update on its performance, and build a consensus on the coordination mechanisms and marketing strategies that can be jointly pursued to drum up interest on the program.
Among the participants were Directors, Managers, and Employees from Alalay sa Kaunlaran, Inc., Almeria Seafarers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Baug CARP Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Cooperative Bank of Cagayan, Cooperative Bank of Misamis Oriental, D’ Asian Hills Bank, Inc., Gata Daku Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Kasapi Microfinance and Rural Development, Inc., Metro Ormoc Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Northern Samar Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and Philippine Coop. Central Fund Federation.
On behalf of Director Albert Valenciano of the LDPO-PPDO, Director Malou Reyes from RWO-III, welcomed the participants and expressed her appreciation to NLDC for conducting the consultation. She confirmed that the program was able to help OFWs and generate some 5,000 jobs at its peak in 2006, and averred that the program remains relevant in the light of the impending repatriation of OFWs because of crises happening in many countries. LDPO finds its niche in reintegration which follows repatriation. The OFW who chooses to stay in the country requires support – either in terms of employment or through an alternative livelihood program – and OWWA needs to make these options available to them.
President Gondelina Amata from NLDC challenged the MFIs and NLDC employees about the performance of the program: “With 2,124 beneficiaries or an average of 212 beneficiaries per year or 18 individuals assisted per month, is this something we should be proud of?” She even mentioned that MFIs can easily generate 5,000 clients in a year and asked her audience “Can we do more?” Mrs. Amata emphasized that the activity is the right opportunity to assess how the agencies and MFIs can be more effective and efficient in implementing the program not only to assist OFWs to access the funds but to help them sustain their livelihood activities. She noted that the LDPO is meant to help dependents of OFWs by not relying on the remittance of their spouses but rather access the funds so that they can help their relatives abroad. According to her, what is needed is to come up with new strategies and stay committed to the intended beneficiaries. Towards the end of her speech she enjoined everyone to contribute to the discussions so as to decide on the changes and improvements that can be done to the program.
The highlights of the 2-day workshop were the presentations in the current status of the program, experience-sharing especially on the challenges and difficulties, experiences in implementing OFW lending program by Mr. Roy Buna from D’ Asian Hills Bank, Ms. Anicia Ty from ASEMCO, and Ms. Jane Manucdoc from ASKI.
OWWA-RWO X’s Ms. Petrona Bergado, shared her systematic and sequential strategies in implementing and marketing LDPO: Environmental scanning – identification of a contact person – on site orientation – entrepreneurship development training – MFI scanning.
NLDC also invited the SIPAG Awards 2013’s OFW National Winners, Sol and Rero Castillano, who shared how they started with their business and how the LDPO program was able to help them.
The issues related to program features and program implementation were raised in plenary sessions after the presentation and were later dealt with in small group discussions, along with a structured discussion of the Internal Rules and Regulations of the LDPO. These issues revolved around collateral requirements, security and custody of collaterals, costs that can be charged from facilitation fees, standardization and disclosure of requirements, coordination mechanics among stakeholders, data sharing, and capacity-building of OFWs. The output of the workshop discussions which revolved around amendments or proposed changes to the IRR to revitalize and enhance the program, shall be submitted to the Program Steering Committee to guide the Committee in deciding on the fate of the OWWA-NLDC LDPO.
Directors from OWWA
Dir. Petrona Bergado from OWWA RWO-X