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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Livelihood programs await displaced overseas Filipinos, says DTI Secretary Lopez

Whole-of-government approach for displaced overseas Filipinos now in place

MANILA – Against a backdrop of hundreds of thousands of displaced overseas Filipinos brought home by the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Labor and Employment, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said upon instructions of President Rodrigo Duterte, they are will create more job opportunities in the country.

“We created a committee consolidating the different livelihood programs from the Departments of Agriculture, Labor and Employment, Trade and Industry and NEDA which are related with agriculture and industry along with the required funding,” Secretary Lopez said during the PCOO’s Virtual Presser hoisted by Asst. Secretary Jayvee Lim Arcena past midday today.

He said this is a whole-of-government approach will address the concerns of overseas Filipinos who have returned to the country due to the economic difficulties faced by their host countries. It has been said the high consumer-spending is triggered by foreign remittances from overseas Filipinos.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, in its February 17,2020 statement said personal remittances, “which boost household income and consumption, accounted for 9.3 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 7.8 percent of the Gross National Income (GNI)” from a total of US$33.5 billion in personal remittances. Cash remittances last year amounted to US$30.1 billion.

“Should there be more income opportunities, consumption spending will go on as it is a big part of our economy,” Secretary Lopez explained. He added the key to consumer confidence is to enliven business today.

He said they conducted a survey when the lockdown began and learned 38% of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) opted to close their businesses. There were more than 3,000 establishments which closed.

However, over the months, the number of closed business establishments fell to ten percent and now at five percent.

“Those who closed probably looked for other business ventures as their businesses will not thrive under the pandemic conditions,” he added.

Secretary Lopez said the Small Business Corporation is prepared to extend loans. Those who will qualify need to have at least a year of good track record.

“All they need to show is their income tax returns, say from 2018-2019, as there is a prescribed amount depending on the side of their business in relation to the sales percentage,” he added. He explained the processing will only take a week as applications are received online as beneficiaries will receive the loans online. (Melo M. Acuña)

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. (Screen grab from PCOO Virtual Presser past midday today/Melo M. Acuna)

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