In Riyadh, Baldoz urges 261 domestic worker-graduates of POLO skills training to engage in business upon return; awards them P2.6 million in livelihood starter kits

Date Posted: December 3rd, 2014 09:00 AM


Riyadh, KSA—Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, now in the fifth leg of her official visit of six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, has urged 261 domestic workers who have graduated from various free training courses conducted by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in this capital city of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to pursue their entrepreneurial bent once they come home because she said micro, small, and medium enterprises, or MSMEs, which comprise 99 percent of all business establishments in the Philippines, are thriving and promise better incomes. The 261 domestic workers, all female, are being sheltered in the POLO’s Bahay Kalinga awaiting their repatriation to the Philippines after their employment ran afoul for various reasons. To make their time productive and to provide them with employable and business skills, the POLO trained them under the DOLE’s Balik-Pinay Balik-Hanapbuhay Project, a component of the National Reintegration Program for OFWs. “In the meantime that you are here in the shelter, it is very commendable that you exerted effort to learn useful skills. Please use these skills as a step to move forward, to improve your lives, and to earn income for your families when you return. The government will be there to assist you,” Baldoz told the domestic workers in her message during their graduation where she and Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia H.E. Ezzedin Tago were special guests. Baldoz, who visited the Bahay Kalinga as part of her official activities in the Saudi capital, said the government is very much concerned with the plight of distressed domestic workers and thus, continues, to do the best it can to fast-track their repatriation to the Philippines. She also instructed Labor Attache Rustico dela Fuente to already standardize all POLO training for distressed workers under the training regulations of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) so that they can be assessed and certificated. Of the 261 domestic worker OFWs, 111 trained on Cosmetology I and II, specifically, manicure and pedicure; 54 finished skills training on reflexology; 61 completed courses on computer; and 35 finished entrepreneurial training. At the graduation ceremony, Baldoz awarded livelihood starter kits worth P10,000 each to the 261 OFW domestic workers, or a total of P2.6 million, under the Balik-Pinay Balik Hanapbuhay Project. The livelihood kits consist of tools, equipment, and jigs, and including supply of materials, that the domestic workers can use to start-up their home-based livelihoods. “I want you to join hundreds of distressed OFWs who have returned to the country and availed of the livelihood assistance under the Balik-Pinay Balik Hanapbuhay Project and who are now earning incomes better than what they could have earned as domestic workers,” Baldoz said. “You don’t have to forget your distressful experience, but you have to learn from it. You have to move on and not lose hope,” she added. The Balik-Pinay Balik Hanap-buhay Project was institutionalized under DOLE Administrative Order No. 77 Series of 2011 to assist returning OFWs through livelihood grants of P10,000. Priority is given to victims of illegal recruitment and trafficking, and other distressed and displaced household service workers. Under the project, returning women OFWs may avail of skills training and grants in the form of business starter kits for such home-based income generating occupations, such as cosmetology, haircutting, foot spa, food processing, massage, reflexology, baking, native snack preparation, handicraft, flower arrangement, dress making, beauty care, and pedicure and manicure. The business starter kits come in the form of equipment, tools and jigs, raw materials, and small start-up capital. "We conceived the Balik-Pinay, Balik Hanap Buhay Project to assist our women OFWs get a fresh start in life upon their return. As we give them a fresh start by guiding them in putting up small but income-generating, home-based businesses, we are not only assisting them financially, but also involving them as contributors towards increased economic activities in their own communities," Baldoz explained. "Make your families your inspiration to strive hard and to succeed. With God’s guidance and self-perseverance, everything will come into place. Never think of your plight as a hindrance," she said, assuring the distressed domestic workers that the POLO, in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy, is working to expedite their departure from the Kingdom. During the awarding of the livelihood kits, Baldoz praised OFW Archie Trigo of the organization, TRAINORS, and Lito Lico of Team Barkadahan who are POLO partners and co-organizers of the POLO skills training. Both were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the success of the Balik-Pinay Balik Hanapbuhay project in Riyadh. Later after the graduation ceremony and awarding of the livelihood kits, Baldoz inspected the facilities of the Bahay Kalinga and responded to various queries of some distressed OFWs in the shelter. She was joined by DOLE Undersecretary in charge of the Middle East Ciriaco Lagunzad, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Hans Leo J. Cacdac, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration head Rebecca Calzado, and International Labor Affairs Bureau Director Saul de Vries, and Labor Attaches Rustico dela Fuente, Firma P. Bantilan, Jainal Rasul, and Alejandro Padaen, Welfare Officers Ruth F. Daza and Romeo C. Pablo, Bahay Kalinga supervisor Cristina Rondolos, as well as the administrative staff of the POLO accompanied the delegation. From Saudi Arabia, Baldoz and her delegation will visit Al-Khobar and met with the Emir of the Eastern Region. Their last stop will be at the United Arab Emirates before they head home to the Philippines. END

Created Dec 15th 2014, 14:11


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