A Facebook page shared a website claiming to be a registration site for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who want to avail of the P250,000 puhunan package.
On June 30, “Sen. Manny Pacquiao Trending News Today” page shared the website balitangofw2.ml, which has been shared over 700 times, as of writing.
The page even re-shared the post on July 9.
And of course, the comments poured in as OFWs are hoping to qualify for the package.
But is President Duterte really offering P250,000 as capital for OFWs and their families who want to come back home?
As what the title of the post said, “Kung pagod kana sa abroad, umuwi kana ng Pilipinas! 250,000 para sa OFW at kaanak dito sa Pilipinas. Please share!” it does seem that way, especially when coupled with the President’s photo. The comments section filled with thank yous for the President Duterte also showed that it is how they understood the post – that Duterte is giving away P250,000 for OFWs.
However, we could not find a specific program under the Duterte administration that specifically offers OFWs or their families P250,000 in capital. What we found instead are programs from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) that would allow OFWs or their families in the Philippines to borrow money to start a business.
For one, we found this February 2017 article from Bandera about an OFW’s wife asking for advice about what possible loans that she can avail of to open a business and an OWWA officer responded that indeed there are available loans. The officer said that there is P2 billion allotted for the OWWA OFW Reintegration program for those who want to get into business. This is partnership with the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Land Bank of the Philippines.
The loan program aims to help OFWs and their families back home. They can loan around P300,000 to P2,000,000 with a 7.% annual interest rate. Payment can be monthly, quarterly or annually, depending on the business cash flow. But the most important thing to note here is where you can apply. Loan applications can only be processed at the OWWA Regional Welfare Office (ORW), not through a random registration website.
To avail of the loan, you need to be an active OWWA member who finished the Entrepreneurial Development Training from the NRCO and OWWA ORWs in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Trade Training Center, and Bureau of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (BSMED). Those who are interested may visit this site: www.owwa.gov.ph
Did it say there that you can go to balitangofw2.ml, the website promoted by the Facebook fan page, to avail of a loan for business? No, it didn’t.
We found out more about the program, which turned out to be called the Enterprise Development and Loan Program (EDLP) for returning OFWs. The borrower must provide 20% equity. The business must generate an income of not lower than P10,000. Target borrowers include OFWs who are active or even inactive OWWA members and who are working abroad or returned to the Philippines in the past three years.
After visiting Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, President Duterte joked about setting aside P50 million for the repatriated OFWs, but later said that he was merely joking to get rid of his sleepiness. He said, though, that the Philippine government will give these OFWs enough capital to start their own business or teach them enough skills. He also advised them to go to their regional Department of Trade and Industry. Again, the President did not mention any balitangofw2.ml as the website that OFWs must consult with.
And when you click on the link, you will find this pop-up ad that will only raise false hope.
If you’re an OFW looking for some capital for a potential business, then go to the regional offices of OWWA and DTI nearest you and ask for guidance on how to apply for a loan. Avoid random websites that will only give you false hope. Consult only with authorized centers and people to talk about money and business that might help you start earning enough so you won’t have to go back to working abroad.