Job and small business creation are now one of the priotrities of the government to help Filipinos especially returning overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) that have lost their jobs as a result of the global financial crisis, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.
Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila said he has mobilized all DTI bureaus and attached agencies to provide livelihood assistance.
Favila said that people who have trouble finding new jobs after losing their present employment may opt to put up their own livelihood by starting up a business.
DTI is among the government agencies tasked by President Arroyo to create one million jobs for the poor by July this year.
Favila said his department is ready to advise people on what businesses to enter and how to apply for a loan to be used as start up capital.
The DTI already have programs in place to help existing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Among the services that the Department can readily provide to business start-ups include instruction on basic business skills, product and packaging design assistance, market exposure and access, financing.
For financing, Favila allocated at least 10 percent of DTI’s budgetary allocation for livelihood and employment generation programs.
In fact, he has ordered the DTI to study the possibility of realigning budgets for foreign travels and missions, and requested the Development Bank of the Philippines to provide additional money for loans.
Likewise, he said they will embark on a massive training and development program on how to start a business as an immediate intervention to those who may be displaced from work, especially to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) showed that the number of OFWs displaced due to the prevailing economic crisis is increasing with reports that as of December of 2008, DOLE recorded a total of 946 displaced workers mainly from Taiwan; 200 Filipino seafarers on board different foreign vessels retrenched; and 300 construction workers expelled from Macau after several casino hotel projects were stopped when foreign investors backed out from the projects due to the economic crisis.
Favila said that the Department would be closely working with other government agencies to ensure that there will be synergy of efforts to provide the maximum services.–Ma. Elisa P. Osorio, Philippine Star