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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

DOLE to help displaced OFWs put up own business enterprise

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque today said some displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Taiwan would soon organize themselves to put up their own business enterprise under the DOLE contingency plan for workers affected by the global financial crisis.

Roque held a dialogue with the displaced OFWs following their protest rally, which they staged with Migrante and other groups in front of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Intramuros last week. The OFWs demanded for a refund of their placement fee and airfare, among others.

Roque assured the OFWs that the DOLE and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) would exhaust all means to assist them. On order of Roque, the POEA would hold continuous hearing to expedite the resolution of the OFWs’ complaints against their recruitment agencies and Taiwanese employers.

POEA Administrator Jennifer Manalili who joined the dialogue, implored on the OFWs to extend their full cooperation in the hearing to ensure its expeditious completion.

Roque also said that while their case is being resolved at POEA, the OFWs would be assisted in putting up their own livelihood project. The affected OFWs are interested in producing and selling peanut butter.

The labor chief likewise assured the displaced workers that all the necessary assistance shall be extended them in order to hasten the setting up and operation of their livelihood project. This would help them earn anew and be able to cover expenses while their case is ongoing. Assistance would include helping them prepare a business plan, operate a business, and market their products.

To expedite airfare refund, Roque also directed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to immediately give the OFWs the money they used in paying their return airfare. OWWA would in turn charge the airfare from the OFWs’ recruitment agencies.

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