The Philippine Embassy in Brunei gave an outreach program and livelihood training for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Brunei’s Temburong District on July 2 and 3.
According to a news release of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), 30 OFWs learned to make cheese ensaymada, buchi, and pumpkin juice.
The DFA said “the purpose of the briefing was to provide participants with basic knowledge and updates on Philippine Embassy programs and services, particularly on OWWA benefits and welfare services and SSS membership coverage.”
“The outreach activity also included a livelihood training program to equip the participants with new knowledge and skills and provide alternative employability options for livelihood/income generation in preparation for their reintegration in the Philippines,” the DFA added.
The person who welcomed embassy officers and staff at the Temburong District was Filipino Association in Brunei (FAB) Temburong District Chairperson Elibeth Rombo.
The resource speakers at the briefing included Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Welfare Officer Zenaida Ramos and Social Security System Representative Marivic Rutor.
OWWA programs, benefits
During the briefing, Ramos discussed the OWWA programs and benefits, including:
1. Disability, dismemberment, and death benefits, on top of what was stipulated in the OFW’s employment contract;
2. Education and training benefits, such as Educational Development Scholarship Program (EDSP), a 4 to 5 years baccalaureate scholarships for OFW’s qualified dependents with 150 scholarship slots per school year; Skills and Employment Scholarship Program (SESP), a short-term or up to 2 years Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)- accredited vocational or technician courses for OFWs and their dependent; and Tuloy Aral Program, a financial assistance to poor but deserving students or dependents of OFW;
3. Livelihood loan programs for OFWs who wanted to go into business and;
4. Workers assistance and on-site programs such as reintegration program through skills training/livelihood, counseling services, conciliation of cases, and assistance in the repatriation of distressed workers and human remains.
SSS program, benefits
Meanwhile, Rutor “emphasized the need for members to continue paying their premium contributions preferably up to 120 contributions to qualify them for lifetime retirement pay plus year-end bonus,” the DFA said.
Rutor also discussed maternity, sickness, partial or total disability, death, and funeral benefits, aside from SSS loan packages and the Flexi fund.
Rutor urged OFWs to keep paying their monthly contributions until the age of 60 years or 65 years old to continue enjoying SSS benefits and receive pensions when they retire.
Meanwhile, the livelihood training on making cheese ensaymada, buchi, and pumpkin juice was also conducted.
While Ramos acted as the resource speaker for the training on ensaymada and buchi making, OFW Arcile Juerez was the resource person for the pumpkin juice making.
“The participants enjoyed these products for refreshments and requested the Embassy for follow-up session and more livelihood-related and practical programs such as these,” the DFA said.
The Embassy programs are being offered free of charge to help OFWs start their own businesses when they return to the Philippines. – VVP, GMA News