POLO Korea turns OFWs into ‘pandepreneurs’

Trust the tough Pinoys to turn crisis into opportunities.

Inspired by the enthusiasm of migrant workers and support of the Filipino communities, the labor department’s Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Korea ventured into business and financial learnings for pandemic-stricken Pinoys in the Asian neighbor.

Dubbed “The Happy Pandepreneur: Paano Maging Negosyante sa Gitna ng Pandemya,” Labor Attaché Maya Valderrama said the learning is part of the series of financial and business trainings for OFWs as the world grapples with the effect of COVID-19.

The undertaking is under the auspices of POIMEN, an organization of leaders of various churches in Seoul.

“This pandemic has created opportunities for us to offer weekend sessions that OFWs can attend even in the comforts of their homes or workplaces. During this time, DOLE’s services address the needs of OFWs who were displaced from employment or stranded in the host country and faced health risks due to COVID-19,” Valderrama said.

Other livelihood trainings include KKK-Poultry Production conducted in partnership with the Philippine Agriculture Office; Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan: Franchising Seminar in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center; and Livelihood Skills Training: Table Setting and Napkin Folding.

Prior to the learning sessions, POLO has been running online business and financial seminars for OFWs in Korea and those who have returned to the country in line with the Philippines Reintegration Preparedness Program for OFWs.

Just last month, a number of sessions had already been conducted on Basic Financial Literacy and TNK’s Gusto mo bang Mag-negosyo sa Pilipinas?

Valderrama said almost 200 OFWs participated in these online seminars. She added that the conduct of the on-site learning is pursuant to the directives of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to support the reintegration plans of every OFW.

“The need for every OFWs to manage their finances and prepare very well for their return is more pressing during this time of pandemic when we are facing challenges on overseas employment. I am glad that POLO Korea has found alternative ways of providing information that could help our OFWs to manage their finances better, and prepare themselves to become entrepreneurs when they return to the country,” Bello said.

To reach to as many OFWs in different locations in Korea, POLO has partnered with the various Filipino community organizations such as the United Filipinos in Korea (UFILKOR), Pinoy Investors in Korea (PiNK), Ilocanos in South Korea (ISK), and the Filipino Community Center in Busan (FCC).

Participants to the training expressed appreciation for the continued implementation of financial literacy and entrepreneurial development courses by POLO.

“Malaking tulong ang ganitong programa para sa mga gustong magsimula ng negosyo sa Pilipinas, lalo na sa mga OFWs na gaya ko pag mag-for-good na sa sariling bayan. Thank you, DTI and POLO-KOR, nawa’y tuloy tuloy po ang ganitong activities upang lalo pa po kaming mahasa to become entrepreneurs someday”, said Jayson Olipas, an EPS worker.

“Gauging from the many participants that are registering in our online seminars, we hope that we are also able to address the needs of our OFWs to be more secure financially and be entrepreneur-ready especially in this time of the pandemic,” Valderrama said.

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