More overseas  Filipino workers (OFWs)  are now  budding entrepreneurs, thanks to the   National Reintegration Center for OFWs'  Livelihood and Enterprise Development  Program.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said this yesterday as she bared that in 2013,  a total of  3,397 OFWs who wanted  to jumpstart their livelihood enterprises availed of the NRCO's assistance under its Livelihood and Enterprise Development Program.

"The number is higher by 887  than the 2013 target of  2,510 OFWs," said Baldoz.

The National Reintegration Center for OFWs, or NRCO, is a newly created agency attached to the DOLE and in-charge of the implementation of the National Reintegration Program for OFWs.

"The assistance came in the form  of tools and  jigs, equipment  and raw materials for  their businesses worth P10,000 each,  or a total of P39 million,"  Baldoz  added.

Of the 3, 397 OFW beneficiaries, 657 were forced to leave Saudi Arabia because of its  Saudization  policy.

The NRCO had reported that Region 4-A had the most number of OFW beneficiaries,  with  788 OFW receiving assistance in the total amount of  P7.88 million.  It  was followed by the  National Capital Region, with 732 OFW beneficiaries; Region 3 with 624 OFW beneficiaries ; Region 1 with 481 OFW beneficiaries; Region 2 with 390 OFW beneficiaries; Region 5  and 10 with 251 OFW beneficiaries each; Region 7 with 131 OFW beneficiaries;  Cordillera Administrative Region with 123 OFW beneficiaries; Caraga with 99 OFW beneficiaries; Region 7 with 28 OFW beneficiaries; Region 8 with 22 OFW beneficiaries; Region 11 with 18 OFW beneficiaries; Region 4-B with eight OFW beneficiaries; and  Region 12 with two OFW beneficiaries.

"In  recognition of  the significant contribution of  OFWs to  the country's development, it is fitting that the government increases its effort to  augment the income of OFW families,"  said Baldoz.

The  NRCO's Livelihood and Enterprise Development  Program also provides  entrepreneurship development and skills enhancement training based on the business proposals of OFW beneficiaries.

"After  their training,  the beneficiaries could immediately apply what they have learned and easily earn additional income.  This is one way of mitigating  the high social cost of migration," she added.

The 3,397 OFW beneficiaries have ventured into diverse businesses, ranging from grains trading, general merchandise, dry goods, sari-sari and retail stores; hog and duck raising, fishpond and/or fish, and egg production; and other service businesses, which include food processing and other food and beverage preparation; appliance repairs; house repair, such as plumbing, welding, electrical servicing, appliance repair; personal accessories repair and maintenance, such as cellular phone and bag repair.

According to Baldoz, the National Reintegration Program of the government, which is in line with the 22 point labor and employment policy of agenda of President Benigno Aquino III, aims to promote  the delivery of responsive, productive, and sustainable reintegration services to OFW returnees  to  enable them to maximize the gains of overseas employment  and mitigate the social costs of migration.

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