GOV'T AID. A representative from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Bicol (OWWA-5) gives her message during the awarding of the Tulong PUSO livelihood grant to Guinobat Overseas Filipino Workers Family Association of Tabaco City last Jan. 13, 2023. The members of the association accepted their first tranche of the PHP250,000 grant. (Photo courtesy of OWWA-Bicol) 

LEGAZPI CITY – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has distributed PHP4.1 million in livelihood grants to seven overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) organizations in the Bicol Region.

In an interview on Thursday, Maria Via Dometita, OWWA Bicol communication officer, said the grant is part of the government's efforts to support qualified members that aim to elevate their way of living by entering into business ventures.

"The Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-Unlad ng Samahang OFWs (Tulong PUSO Program) is a livelihood grant that OWWA provides to OFW groups that were duly registered to Department of Labor and Employment, Security and Exchange Commission or Cooperative Development Authority. Up to a maximum of PHP1 million is given by OWWA to the group that wants to avail of the program. It is only necessary that they have a business proposal and proof of equity of 20 percent of their total project cost," Dometita said.

She also said the financial grant is a new program in 2020 to buy raw materials, tools and equipment for the livelihood projects of beneficiaries.

"Last Jan. 13, we (OWWA Bicol) awarded the Tulong PUSO livelihood grant to Guinobat Overseas Filipino Workers Family Association of Tabaco City. The association members warmly accepted their first tranche of the PHP250,000 approved livelihood grant. The said OFW group is the second grantee in the province of Albay, while the San Antonio Cale OFW Organization of Tiwi, Albay was the first grantee who received PHP561,900," she said.

She also encouraged other interested OFWs to avail of the assistance.

"They have to submit their business proposal for assessment of the regional evaluation committee of OWWA based on its viability and success rate," she said.

"Those groups who want to avail of this livelihood grant will be mentored and capacitated by OWWA Bicol so that their proposal can be improved and their handling of the business will be even better once the grant is given," she added.

OFW groups -- two each from Albay and Sorsogon, and three in Camarines Sur -- also received livelihood grants.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Bicol (DSWD-5) has provided cash assistance to 373 persons with disability (PWDs) Albay province via its cash-for-work program.

Ranelle Anne Sertan, DSWD-5 social marketing officer, said a total of PHP1.28 million was distributed to 373 beneficiaries from Libon town in Albay.

"We distributed the cash assistance last Tuesday, each beneficiary received PHP3,450 cash assistance in exchange for the 10 days of community work," Sertan said.

She said the cash-for-work program for PWDs is under the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan -- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services.

"The beneficiaries were selected based on the result of the assessment of Listahan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction, while validation was conducted by the local government units," she said. (PNA)