THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) encourages overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to go beyond the “balikbayan box” mentality and venture into business instead.
The labor department admitted that some OFWs who earn good money abroad tend to forget to save up for emergency cases in the future.
“OFWs should not be blinded by the fact that they are earning good money. I have heard so many stories of OFWs and their painful struggles abroad to earn for their families but who had forgotten to save and invest for the rainy days,” DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.
Baldoz especially addressed those who intend to settle in the Philippines for good to stop working away from their families.
“They come home for good only to realize that they have to start all over again. This is a vicious cycle that OFWs themselves can put an end to by saving and investing their hard-earned income,” she said.
OFWs, according to the labor secretary, should resist the urge to spend so much money to fill balikbayan boxes with goods for their loved ones back home, and instead save up money for future investments.
“They should open their eyes to the reality that when they come home, they should have a substitute or alternative source of income for their families,” she said. “They should think of ways their hard-earned savings from long years of working abroad could be put to good and profitable use. That’s what financial literacy is all about.”
Furthermore, Ricardo Casco, mission coordinator for the International Organization for Migration, said OFWs should be led towards financial literacy to change their behavior in safeguarding their hard-earned money.
“Our task is to make OFWs realize that they have an option. That they do not have to spend their lives working abroad with nothing left when they reach their retirement,” Casco said.
He reminded that OFWs should set aside at least 10 to 20 percent of their monthly income for savings, and spend the rest wisely for their expenses.
Casco suggested that nongovernment organizations must aide the OFWs to become financially stable that would eventually spur growth in the local economy.
(With reports from Inquirer.net)
(LA Midweek February 25-27, 2015 Sec. B pg.1)