Around 35,000 to 40,000 displaced OFWs have benefited from Balik Pilipinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Program this year, according to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
In an interview with GMA News, OWWA chief Hans Leo Cacdac said he sees a 250%-increase, from 3,600 distressed OFWs recorded in 2016 and 20,000 recorded in 2017.
“‘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.
The program assists distressed OFWs who want to start a business upon their return to the Philippines.
Those who are eligible for the program are victims of abuse as well of human trafficking and illegal recruitment, among others.
Under the government’s program, beneficiaries will receive Php10,000 to Php20,000. Also included in the program are financial literacy seminars, entrepreneurial development training, and livelihood skills training to help the distressed OFWs boost their business in the Philippines.