OFWs earn billions of dollars but save little

Published by rudy Date posted on May 7, 2012

A special report on CNN said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) may be bringing home billions of dollars in remittances each year but the challenge for many of them was how to spend the money wisely.

For those who need to learn how to spend their earnings the right way, the Philippine government is giving seminars on how overseas workers can have a sustainable future, CNN’s “Eye On” the Philippines said.

The Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi has begun financial literacy courses where participants learn how to invest money and “stop relatives back home from spending all the cash,” the report added.

CNN said the government believes better money management will encourage workers to invest back home to foster economic growth so fewer Filipinos will go overseas for work.

“If we can guide overseas Filipinos and their families to invest, I think that will be a large source of private-public sector cooperation,” Philippine ambassador to the UAE Grace Princesa told CNN.

“A financial problem can destroy a family,” Rosario dela Cruz, a nurse in the UAE said. “But if the family is financially stable, I don’t think there will be a problem within the family.”

While there are Filipinos who still need some financial education, there are some who have successfully invested their money for good use.

One of them is Prudencio Garcia, a former migrant worker and now the chief executive officer (CEO) of Pampanga-based Mekeni Food Corporation which has earned its name worldwide, CNN reported.

Mekeni Food’s meat products have recently reached some stores in the Middle East such as in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the report said.

“For us to start doing a business, we have to go out of the country wherein we can save more to start our own business someday,” Garcia said.

The report said Garcia left the Philippines in the early 1990s to work as an accountant in Saudi Arabia.

He stayed in Saudi Arabia for eight years and built savings with the money he sent back home. The money eventually helped him set up Mekeni Foods.

CNN’s “Eye On” has chosen the Philippines as the focus of their reports.

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