For OFWs who are working abroad, no matter how big their salary is and no matter how successful they are in their careers, most of them still prefer to go back home for good if given the chance.
It is true that there’s no place like home…
Many OFWs suffer homesickness or depression while they’re working abroad that’s why some OFWs don’t renew their contract and just stay in the Philippines for good with their family and loved ones.
Our government understand that and even offer programs to help returning OFWs cope with the challenges that await them such as unemployment and lack of financial support for their families.
With the help of OWWA or Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Ex OFWs are given a chance to avail of the Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Livelihood Program.
The Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Livelihood Program or BPBH is a livelihood program that consists of cash assistance amounting to ₱20,000, including Entrepreneurship Development Training to help the returning OFW start his own business here in the Philippines.
Who can apply for the Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Livelihood Program?
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and OWWA members must meet the following qualifications to be able to avail of the “Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay!” Livelihood Program:
- Those who were displaced by hostilities or wars or political conflicts, policy reforms or changes by host governments;
- Those who were victims of illegal recruitment or human trafficking or other distressful situations;
- Those who are at the Distressed wards at the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Resource Centers who are due for repatriation; and
- Those OWWA members who were employed by foreign employers which are facing financial difficulties due to economic conditions such as the construction companies in Saudi Arabia.
This program is for those who did not finish their contracts due to any of the events mentioned above.
This program is not for you if you have finished or completed your employment contract abroad.
Instead, you may apply for the Reintegration Program, which is also offered to distressed OFWs by being self-employed or livelihood project as a means to generate income for the family even after they worked abroad.
How to Apply for this Livelihood Program for OFWs?
If you qualify, you may apply for the Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Livelihood Program through the following options:
- You may apply at any OWWA Regional Office nearest your residence.
- You may log on to OWWA website at www.owwa.gov.ph
- You may Contact OWWA at (02) 891-7601 to 24, local 5217
- You may Contact OWWA OPCEN at (02) 833-6992 or call/text 09175908654 or 0917-8986992
- You may Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you get to any OWWA contact center, you may ask for the additional details and documentary requirements for the application of “Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay!” Livelihood Program.
Please note that you need to apply for this program WITHIN one year upon your return to the Philippines.
Financial Literacy and Business Planning
Aside from the cash assistance that OWWA provides to OFWs who qualify for the Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay!” Livelihood Program, returning OFWs are also taught on how to handle their money and sustain their business by attending training related to Financial Literacy, Basic Accounting and Business Plan Making.
OWWA wants to help returning OFWs not only give them cash to start but also relevant education to help them grow their cash for long term.
Projects or Business that OFWs can start
Aside from the most commonly chosen sari-sari store business, OFWs also have other business options including:
- Agri and Non-Agri Production or Manufacturing
- Franchising Projects
- Transport Service
- Contract Tie-up with Top 1,000 corporations
- Construction or Rental Business
- Service or Trading Business
The P20,000 Cash Assistance is NOT a LOAN
This amount is not a loan but a cash assistance given by OWWA to qualified returning OFWs to help them start their small business as they start their life back in the country.
If you want to avail of an OFW loan program, you may apply for the OFW-EDLP (Overseas Filipino Workers – Enterprise Development and Loan Program).
This is ideal if you’re planning to start a business that requires a bigger capital since this program offers a minimum loan amount of ₱100,000 to a maximum of ₱2,000,000 for Individual Loan Borrowers.
But take note that the loan amount depends on your business plan, sustainability of the business, your ability to pay, and other considerations that will be set by OWWA.
TIPS To Avail of the “Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay!” Livelihood Program
It’s good to know that the Philippine government has these programs for the returning OFWs. But, this doesn’t mean that you just have to depend on this cash assistance when you come home for good.
As much as possible, try to save some of your income while you’re still abroad so that you have something to use upon your sudden or unexpected return to the Philippines prior to the expiration of your contract.
I know it’s hard to be in this situation, but there are things that are beyond our control. What we can control is to save up or invest for the rainy days or for the future. Don’t spend all of your income for pasalubong or Christmas gifts for your loved ones especially when you don’t have enough savings yet.
Be wise in handling your money while you’re still earning. You wouldn’t know how valuable your job and income is until it’s gone. So save, invest, and learn more about financial literacy.
Going back, if you get to the point where you have to return to the Philippines for any of the reasons mentioned above, make sure you have the necessary documents for the application of the Livelihood Program if you wish to avail it.
Create a good business plan and think of other ways to generate income even when you’re just here in the country. The better the business plan, the bigger the chance that you’ll be able to avail of the “Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay!” Livelihood Program.
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