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OFWs urged to avail of government loans
Small Business (SB) Corp. sector head Josefina Flores said the financial institution has approved 205 loan applications amounting to P11.8 million under the Helping the Economy Recover through OFW Enterprise Start-ups (HEROES) program since it was launched in July last year.
STAR/Edd Gumban, file

OFWs urged to avail of government loans

(The Philippine Star) - April 4, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The financing arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is encouraging overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to avail of loans under a facility intended to help them start anew by setting up their own business.

Small Business (SB) Corp. sector head Josefina Flores said the financial institution has approved 205 loan applications amounting to P11.8 million under the Helping the Economy Recover through OFW Enterprise Start-ups (HEROES) program since it was launched in July last year.

The total approved loan amount is equivalent to about 12 percent of the P100 million allocated for the HEROES program.

“We are not very happy with this update because if we base it on the registration of arrivals of overseas Filipinos from abroad, the numbers are high, by the thousands every day,” she said.

As the SB Corp. has not received many applications for loans under the HEROES program, she said focus group discussions would be conducted with OFWs to find out how the program may be improved and made more responsive to their needs.

She said the HEROES program is the government’s way of paying back the OFWs for their contribution to the economy.

“This is the government’s way of assisting you, to help you adjust hopefully, to the temporary change in lifestyle and source of livelihood,” she said.

Under the HEROES program, repatriated or returning OFWs may avail of loans amounting up to P100,000, without interest and collateral, to start a business.

A service fee of six percent will be charged to loans with a payment term of 24 months, and eight percent for loans with a payment term of 36 months, inclusive of a 12 months grace period.

To apply for the program, the OFW should first complete a free three-day online training with the Philippine Trade Training Center.

After the training, the OFW would need to submit a video presentation of the business plan, as well as the accomplished loan application form, government-issued identification, proof of repatriation, certificate of completion of training, and business registration with the DTI.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs despite the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

He said the DTI could help OFWs who want to start a business through training, loans, as well as constant mentoring with partner organizations.

“What would be good is to have the right mindset and knowledge on how to differentiate and improve your business model and hopefully, with this program, we can help you there,” he said.

DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY OFW
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