Saturday, December 12, 2009

Villar wants jobs for returning OFWs

December 12, 2009, 2:57pm

Original Story:

Citing the world’s financial volatility, Nacionalista Party President Senator Manny Villar said the government should put in place a permanent and proactive contingency measures involving so-called safety nets for returning overseas Filipino workers.

Villar lamented that the government only acts when crisis cropped up with regards to OFWs.

“I notice that we only act when there is a problem or crisis already. We should be proactive not reactive. At any given time, there are OFWs that need assistance, thus our efforts should be non-stop. Our support should also be speedy and should not get caught up in red tape,” said Villar.

He made this suggestion as he observed, many parts of the world are still experiencing economic slowdown and some form of financial crisis, from the Middle East to the United States. Thus, OFWs' jobs are not secure anywhere in the world.

“We should always be prepared with alternative employment for OFWs. They have been instrumental in propping up our economy year in, year out through their remittances. It is but fair to extend support to them when they need it,” said Villar.

Villar has been pushing for an efficient reintegration plan for repatriated or returning OFWs. He earlier filed the Overseas Filipino Investment Bill or Senate Bill 635, which seeks to promote the reintegration of OFWs in the Philippine society by helping them save, invest, and engage in business ventures that would translate their hard-earned money into economic gains of the country and to create a new generation of overseas Filipino investors or OFIs.

Villar's bill proposes the issuance of short and long-term OFI bonds by government banks; provision of government financial institutions (GFIs) of credit facilities for OFIs; the allocation of 10% of the total equity of governments existing businesses or enterprises for OFIs and their families; among other benefits and incentives such as income tax exemptions.

Villar said job creation remains crucial not only in addressing the requirement of returning OFWs but to meet long-term goals of lasting economic growth and development.

“Many of our countrymen are still reeling from the devastation of recent typhoons. They haven’t even rebuilt their homes and sources of livelihood. Thus, we need to make create jobs in a much faster pace given the urgency of the situation,” said Villar.

Villar said local governments should conduct as many job fairs and forums as possible to bring together the private sector and job applicants in communities.
Livelihood trainings, according to him, provide instant help as well. Villar’s office has been conducting on-the-spot livelihood courses to interested people. Through Sagip-OFW, Villar has also helped hundreds of OFWs in trouble.

“It is also important to support the growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs. I have always maintained that entrepreneurship generates job. For every small business established, at least three people are provided with jobs. We need to free up capital and funds.

“Tax incentives are also a good come-on for entrepreneurs,” cited Villar.

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