2 former OFWs reap fruits from NRCO’s livelihood assistance

June 16, 2015 10:30 am 

MANILA, June 16 — Two former OFWs from Bulacan are now budding entrepreneurs thanks to the National Reintegration Center for OFWs’ (NRCO) P10, 000 livelihood assistance program.

A seafarer for 23 years, Eduardo Lumidao endured gusty winds and strong waves of the ocean to earn a better future.

“Mahirap yung mawalay sa pamilya, mahirap ang trabaho sa karagatan. Kailangang magsakripisyo para sa aking pamilya,” Lumidao shared.

In 2013, Lumidao faced a great challenge when he was diagnosed of Spondylosis, a degenerative osteoarthritis of the joints between the center of the spinal vertebrae. This ailment rendered him unfit to work as a seafarer.

“Sa di inaasahang karamdaman, napilitan akong bumalik sa Pilipinas na walang kasiguraduhang kinabukasang maibibigay sa aking pamilya,” Lumidao said.

The life story of Joseph Sumagui is no different. A painter for several years in an automotive company in the United Arab Emirates, he was untimely displaced from work due to recession.

“Sobrang lungkot at panghihinayang na mawalan ako ng trabaho dito sa UAE dahil ito ang bumubuhay sa aking pamilya. Hindi ko inaasahang mangyayari ito sa akin,” Sumagui said.

When Lumidao and Sumagui heard the news on the NRCO’s P10,000.00 livelihood assistance program, the two former OFWs, who were qualified, wasted no time to avail of it.

Lumidao, jobless, used what was left of his earnings abroad to put up a small computer shop to help sustain his family’s needs.

“Noong malaman ko na merong P10,000.00 na livelihood assistance ang NRCO, hindi na ako nagdalawang isip dahil alam ko po na magagamit ko ito bilang karagdagang kapital sa aking maliit na negosyo,” Lumidao said.

From the amount he received last year, he purchased additional computer units and equipment, such as LCDs and printers for his computer shop.

Sumagui, meanwhile, used the livelihood assistance he received to purchase a welding machine, welding rods, and other equipment used in the construction of metal works.

“Sabi ko sa sarili ko, kung ano mang tulong ang ipagkakaloob sa akin ng gobyerno, ito ay aking pagyayamanin dahil alam ko na may patutunguhan ito,” Sumagui said.

How the NRCO’s program changed their lives

Lumidao now runs his computer shop with daughter, Jem Elaiza, a visual graphics design graduate and beneficiary of the OWWA’s Skills for Employment Scholarship Program.

“Lubos akong nagpapasalamat sa livelihood assistance na ipinagkaloob sa akin ng OWWA at ng NRCO. Sana, matulungan din nila ang iba pang kapwa ko OFW returnees na nais manirahan muli sa Pilipinas kapiling ang kanilang mga pamilya. Gayun din ang aking pagpapasalamat sa OWWA dahil ang anak ko po ay isa sa mga beneficiaries ng skills training program nito,” Lumidao said.

Lumidao’s computer shop, which since then has expanded to various computer services, is now a formidable small business which can already sustain his family’s needs.

Sumagui, on the other hand, is now successfully operating his low-cost fine metal works business, which is already well-known within his community.

From his earnings both here and abroad, he was able to build his own house and purchase a tricycle which he uses for work.

“Isang malaking hamon ang pagtratrabaho sa abroad. Malayo ka sa pamilya mo, hindi mo pa alam ang ugali ng mga kasama mo. Kaya po ako, naging puhunan ko noon ang lakas ng loob at pakikisama sa aking amo at mga kasamahan sa trabaho. Inalis ko rin po ang bisyo at patuloy na nangangarap para sa aking pamilya,” Sumagui said.

The NRCO P10K Livelihood Assistance, now named Livelihood Development Assistance Program (LDAP), is a start-up assistance to enterprise to OFW returnees.

Beneficiaries of the LDAP primarily include OFWs who were unsuccessful in their tenure abroad as well as those working as undocumented OFWs.

From 2011 until October 2014, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration – Regional Welfare Office No. 3 has been implementing this program, which has benefited thousands of OFWs residing in Central Luzon.

At present, NRCO regional coordinator Freya Palad is implementing the program. She is based at the Technical Support and Services Division for Employment and Welfare of the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office No. 3, in San Fernando, Pampanga.

OFW returnees who wish to avail of this program may contact NRCO regional coordinator Freya Palad at (045) 455-1617.(PNA)

FPV/DOLE-PR/PJN

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