The Heart of OFW Reintegration Program
The comprehensive reintegration program of our government for returning OFWs is there since in the 90’s. But up to present many OFW returnees fails to make the program right. Perhaps because the OFW is not yet ready to reintegrate in our country for a very simple reason, we are already a stranger in our homeland after long years working in a foreign land; and or perhaps the business venture we are in is not the one that dictates our heart; and our governments’ way of implementing it through all these years.
The study of reintegration program was conceived as early in 1980’s and was first organized in 1988 by Asian Migration Center, a regional NGO based in Hong Kong composed of mostly member ASEAN countries.
There are two kinds of “OFW returnees”, those OFWs who troops down back home because of war, natural calamities, as well as economic and political turmoil of the host country they’re in. The other OFW returnees are those who decide to go home for good and stay at home with their families for the rest of their lives.
Last year, the Philippine government through the Department of Labor and Employment created a new reintegration program called Assist WELL Program that will address the Welfare, Employment, Legal, and Livelihood needs of repatriated OFWs. This particular program caters the needs of those OFWs repatriated from war-torn countries.
National Reintegration Program Fund (NRPF) launched in 2011 are those for returning OFWs who wish to stay at home after a long period of working abroad and or those who finished their contracts and decides not to go back working away from home. This program provides with a livelihood loan of between P300,000 to P2 million to set up their own business with low-interest loans. However, the OWWA and the bank(s) lengthy requirements and the long tedious process makes’ it hard for a returning OFW to avail the program.
The Land Bank of the Philippines and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration forged a partnership for the implementation of this high-profile and probably the biggest reintegration program of the government since Kabuhayan-2000 Program for OFWs in 1998.
Those above mentioned programs achieved a modest outcome for both two kinds of OFW returnees, it is suggested that changes should be made in all of its guidelines and requirements to avail the lending facility much easier. Perhaps, there is also a need to trim down those government agencies involved that are not anymore necessary in the implementation of the program. In this way, the efforts of the many previous administrations to help OFWs reintegrate in our homeland be fulfilled.
On the other side of the mirror, the heart of OFW reintegration program of our government lies within us, we need to choose the right business with an innermost desire of doing it, armed with passion and coming from our heart.
To my fellow OFW returnees, re-joining our families back home and reintegrating into the mainstream of our Philippine society is a very crucial plan and we, OFWs should have to think twice before disembarking a new era of endeavour back home. Many OFWs like me are unfamiliar in our country’s business scenes while working away from home. WE should determine the exact and suitable entrepreneurship venture that we love most or experienced in line with our previous or at present employment abroad. Lastly, WE should be aware of the financial burdens of taxation that awaits us in the future. – BongA